OAKLEY -- The Freedom High football team kind of wants to do a little more work running its offense early in games.
But the Falcons' Darrell Daniels just won't oblige. He's just too explosive on kickoff returns to let that happen.
Daniels, who has orally committed to Washington, ran back the opening kick 89 yards for a touchdown in the Falcons' 43-6 rout of visiting San Leandro on Friday night. The spectacular Daniels performed the same feat in a season-opening 29-27 loss to host Amador Valley.
"Every game we've scored within the first two plays of the kickoff," Freedom coach Kevin Hartwig said. "We wanted to change that to make us work a little bit, because you score off the bat, what do you do? We've done that twice this year."
Daniels and Joe Mixon each scored three touchdowns against the Pirates (0-4), and Freedom (2-2) looked razor sharp. The Falcons clearly rebounded strongly from a 31-21 loss against Franklin-Elk Grove.
"We came out well after last week's loss," Hartwig said. "We made a few mental mistakes early in the game (against Franklin), and we let them back in the game. We started the same way this week, but we held our composure and finished, and that's the whole goal."
The Falcons turned into a blowout quickly, bolting to a 36-0 halftime lead.
Mixon ran 11 times for 150 yards overall, and Daniels rushed three times for 102 yards, had 37 yards receiving and two monster hits from his safety position.
Freedom upped the margin to 14-0 on its first offensive possession. After Daniels returned a duffed field goal attempt by the Pirates 41 yards to the Freedom 42-yard line, the Falcons needed five plays to score on a 1-yard run by Mixon, who carried eight times in the first half for 131 yards and scored three touchdowns.
Mixon made it 21-0 on a 65-yard run on a delayed handoff with 10:46 left in the half. The Falcons kept pouring it on with a 47-yard touchdown pass from Dante Mayes to Mixon on a swing play. Mayes completed two touchdown passes.
Freedom's Johnell Green intercepted Stephen Johnson on the Pirates' next possession setting up the Falcons' fifth touchdown on a 9-yard completion from Mayes to Daniels, who slipped a tackle at the 6-yard line and powered into the end zone.
The Falcons' final touchdown featured their main offensive weapons in full flight. Daniels ran 22 yards on first down after Tyler Bergen's fumble recovery on the Falcons' 15. Mixon ran for 21 more before Daniels, out of the wildcat, romped 45 yards into the end zone. Anthony Cantabrana then converted his fifth consecutive extra point on the night.
Freedom defensive tackle Bobby Montgomery had a big game with two sacks and at least one tackle for a loss as he dominated in the middle.
Hartwig's team, which travels to Castro Valley next week, is facing a tough schedule to prepare properly for the Bay Valley Athletic League and the North Coast Section playoff, hoping to avoid an early exit
San Leandro is taking its lumps against a tough nonleague schedule. The Pirates entered the game having been shut out by Bellarmine Prep (20-0) and Logan (29-0) the previous two weeks.
Freedom 43, San Leandro 6
San Leandro 0 0 0 6-- 6
Freedom 14 22 7 0-- 43
F -- Daniels 89 kickoff return (Cantabrana kick)
F -- Mixon 1 run (Cantabrana kick)
F -- Mixon 65 run (Cantabrana kick)
F -- Mixon 47 pass from Mayes (Cantabrana kick)
F -- Daniels 9 pass from Mayes (Mayes run)
F -- Daniels 42 run (Cantabrana kick)
SL -- Aledo 10 run (run failed)
Rushing: SL -- Bell 22-115, Aledo 8-91, Herring 4-12, Johnson 8-8, Carter 1-7, Mataafa 1-2, Bazile 2-6, Lesure 1-0. Totals 47-231. F -- Mixon 11-150, Daniels 3-102, Jackson 2-3, Wargo 1-(-2), Mayes 3-(-8), Zanders 2-(-8). Totals 22-237. Passing: SL -- Johnson 6-12-1 29. F -- Mayes 5-9-0 91, Wargo 1-2-0 44. Totals 6-11-0 135. Receiving: SL -- Bell 1-7, Baker 1-8, Carter 3-3, Greene 1-11. Totals 6-29. F -- Daniels 2-37, Mixon 1-47, Young 1-44, Mallett 2-7. Totals 6-135. Fumbles/lost: San Leandro 5-2, Freedom 2/1. Records: San Leandro 0-4, Freedom 2-2.