By Bob Kopp

BDR Sports Correspondent

BELVIDERE – With both teams standing at 4-3 in the NIC-10 and one victory from eligibility for the playoffs, Belvidere and Freeport brought a sense of urgency to Funderburg Stadium.

Pre-season favorites to challenge for a conference crown and deep run in the playoffs, the Bucs were still shaking their heads after being upset by Guilford in week seven.

A win over Freeport to qualify for the post-season and then a win over East to complete the season are considered critical to a favorable seeding for the playoffs.

A hot Freeport team that has been on a late season run to the playoffs felt a win over the Bucs was critical as they host powerhouse and presumptive 2015 NIC-10 champion Auburn in their season finale.

In a game featuring the explosive and elusive running of Freeport senior Vance McShane who lived up to his reputation throughout the evening, the Bucs salted the Pretzels 20-19 by taking their first lead in the game with 70 seconds to go as junior quarterback Austin Revolinski celebrated his birthday with a five yard power run to the end zone as an exclamation point to another stellar performance as the obvious choice for all-conference kudos.

Freeport never trailed until stung by Revolinski’s run.

Led by McShane who scored on a 47 yard scamper after only 44 ticks on the clock, a nine yarder to put the Pretzels ahead 12-0 in the second quarter, and then a 25 yarder in the third quarter after Revolinski’s 35 yard scoring run to close the gap 12-7, Freeport seemed prepped to do the salting for most of the evening.  McShane ran for over 200 yards in the game and has topped over a 1000 for the season.

Head Coach Chuck Leonard grounded his potent air attack to keep the ball out of McShane’s hands and it worked; especially in the last drive of the evening when the Bucs were behind 19-14 at the end of the third quarter.

The fourth quarter was all Bucs and Coach Leonard’s strategy culminated when the hosts started on their own 12 and marched down the field for almost 11 minutes before Revolinski scored the winning TD.

The Pretzels got the ball for one final shot at salting the Bucs with 70 seconds to go; but when senior Brett White intercepted a pass with 58 seconds left on the clock, the victory formation moved the Bucs into the playoffs and a probable favorable seeding with a win over East in next Friday’s finale.

Senior Dayquan Coleman flashed 34 yards to pay dirt in the third quarter to draw the Bucs within striking distance 19-14 before stalwart running by Revolinski and senior Eric Munoz gobbled up the clock in the fourth quarter on the way to the final score that salted the Pretzels.

The Bucs travel to East next week to seal an expected victory to earn favorable seeding for the playoffs.

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