By Tommy Wells
Seward Phoenix LOG 

Freiberg, Schrock help 'Hawks rush past Buccaneers in opener


August 17, 2017 | View PDF

Dax Robinson

Seward's Beau Freiberg closes in to make a tackle on a Valdez runner during the team's season-opening win.

The Seward High School Seahawks rolled into Saturday's 2017 season opener against the Valdez Buccaneers short on experience and overall numbers. Fielding just 16 players, Seward kicked off its defense of the Peninsula Conference title with five new starters.

When they walked off Steinbrecher Field they were looking at even more eye-opening numbers.

Backed by a 256-yard rushing performance by junior running back Beau Freiberg, the Seahawks ran over Valdez. Seward rushed for 432 yards and four touchdowns en route to posting a staggering 32-12 victory and extending its domination over the Buccaneers.

Seward has defeated Valdez in nine of their 13 meetings dating back to 1998.

"We showed our youth in some places, but really they played pretty well," said SHS head coach Kelly Cinereski. "The backs ran hard, and our young line learned from their mistakes and really did a great job."

As a team, Seward finished the game with 472 total yards of offense while running 63 offensive plays.

The performance of the offensive line – which featured three players making their first-ever appearance in a game – wasn't lost on the Seahawks.

"I think we played phenomenal today," said junior running back Gabe Schrock. "Our freshmen did a great job. You can't say enough about what they came out and did."

One of five Seahawk rushers to carry the ball in the contest, Schrock finished the contest with 101 yards rushing on 16 carries.

Valdez didn't do itself any favors early in the non-conference matchup. After reeling off an 11-yard gain on their first play from scrimmage, the Buccaneers put the ball on the ground seconds later. Freshman defensive end Dylan Marcus scooped up the miscue and gave Seward its first possession of the season just 17 seconds into the affair.

Taking over at their own 45, the Seahawks didn't let the opportunity go to waste. Seward put together a 9-play, 55-yard drive over the next 3 minutes and built a quick 8-0 cushion.

Brandon Lynch got the Seahawks' offense in gear quickly. Facing a 3rd-and-8 play from their own 47, the sophomore reeled off a 13-yard scamper to the Buccaneer 40. One play later, he blistered the Valdez defense for 10 more and set the SHS offense up with a first down at the VHS 30. Three plays later, Freiberg posted a 12-yard run that took Seward to the Buccaneer 11.

Lynch finished off the drive from there, scoring seconds later on a short 4-yard run around the right side. Freiberg tacked on the two-point conversion and gave Seward an 8-0 lead with 8:44 remaining in the opening frame.

The Seahawks' offensive fireworks were far from through. After forcing Valdez to punt its ensuing possession away, Seward put together an impressive 10-play, 94-yard drive that upped SHS' lead to 14-0 heading into the second quarter.

Freiberg shouldered much of Seward's offensive load in the drive by carrying the ball six times for 64 yards.

After Freiberg had opened the series with back-to-back runs of 4 and 12 yards, Lynch and Schrock got into the mix, combining for 15 yards and a first down at the Seward 37. Five plays later, Freiberg took a handoff from Kingsland and raced around the right side for 34 yards and a touchdown.

The first of Freiberg's two touchdowns put the Seahawks up 14-0 with 43 seconds left in the opening quarter.

Seward's lead almost ballooned even larger midway through the second. On their first possession of the frame, the Seahawks marched 83 yards before turning the ball over in the end zone.

Valdez, which finished the game with just 167 total yards, managed to turn Seward's near-miss into a measure of momentum. Taking over the ball at their own 20 after the fumble, the Bucs reeled off quick gains of 15, 4 and 16 yards and found themselves at midfield. Two plays later, Valdez broke off a 51-yard scoring run that cut Seward's lead to 14-6 just 2:40 before the half.

Valdez didn't get to enjoy the momentum long. The Seahawks defense forced Valdez to fumble away the ball on the second play from scrimmage in the third quarter, giving Seward the ball at the VHS 49.

Kingsland kicked the Seahawk offense into high gear quickly. On first down, he scrambled for 11 yards on a quarterback keeper. Five running plays later, Freiberg scrambled for a gain of 7 and gave Seward a first down at the Valdez 11.

Schrock capped the effort seconds later by scampering 11 yards for his first-ever touchdown.

"It was a 38-pitch play," he said. "I knew it was coming to me so I fired off fast and tried to get around the corner. When I saw Beau made a great block in front of me and I only saw one guy between me and the end zone. I told myself there wasn't any way he was going to stop me from scoring."

Schrock's TD gave Seward a 20-6 lead with 7:05 left in the third.

Valdez answered back late in the third. With 1:15 left in the third, the Buccaneers clawed their way to within 20-12 with a 40-yard scoring toss.

Seward wiped away whatever good feelings the VHS offense might have built less than a minute later.

After Schrock fell on top of an onside kick attempt at the Seahawk 45, Freiberg all but drove the final nail into the Buccaneer coffin. On Seward's second play of the series, Feriberg took a handoff from Kingsland and raced around the left side for 50 yards and a touchdown.

The Seahawks took a 26-12 cushion into the final 12 minutes of play.

Seward closed out the season-opening win with a 17-yard scamper by Kingsland late in the final stanza.

Seward 32, Valdez 12

Valdez 0 6 6 0 - 12

Seward 14 0 12 6 - 32

Scoring Summary

First Quarter

S – Brandan Lynch 4 run (Beau Freiberg run), 8:05

S – Freiberg 34 run (run failed), :45

Second Quarter

V – 51 run (run failed), 2:40

Third Quarter

S – Gabe Schrock 11 run (run failed), 7:05

V – 40 pass (run failed), 1:45

S – Freiberg 50 run (run failed), :33

Fourth Quarter

S – Chris Kingsland 17 run (run failed), 2:13


Seward Valdez

24 First Downs 7

59-430 Rushes-Yards 35-167

Dax Robinson

Shayne Sullivan scrambles for yardage in the second half of Saturday's 32-12 win over Valdez.

2-4-0 Comp.-Att.-Int. 1-5-1

42 Pass Yards 40

0-0 Punts-Avg. 5-32.6

7-4 Fumbles-Lost 7-2

3-30 Pen-Yards 3-15


RUSHING – Beau Freiberg 24-256, Brandan Lynch 16-101, Gabe Schrock 10-56, Shayne Sullivan 4-19.

PASSING – Chris Kingsland 2-4-0-42

RECEIVING – Brandan Lynch 2-42.


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