TAMPA — Freedom opened its season with a defensive-minded and penalty-marred victory Friday night at King.
Play of the game: After kicking a 27-yard field goal with three minutes left in the first half, Freedom's Heath Grady had a 32-yarder blocked on the final play before intermission. A Lion picked up the loose football, and fumbled. After a rugby-like scramble for the ball, Calvin Bido-Vega came away with it and raced 12 yards for a touchdown to give Freedom a 9-0 lead.
Stars of the game: Freedom's defense. It came up with three turnovers and held King to 4 yards on 42 plays, including minus-36 yards on 25 carries. Kalijahe Spann and Lee Carabali recovered fumbles and Aaron Cox had an interception. The Lions had four turnovers overall with the fumble return by Bido-Vega doing the ultimate damage.
Stats of the game: The Patriots committed 23 penalties for 168 yards, 133 in the second half. Overall, the teams were flagged 31 times for 233 yards.
Final word: "I'm very proud of the defense. It did very, very well all night. … That was huge for us." — Freedom coach Todd Donohoe.
Don Jensen, Times correspondent