Friday , October 27, 2017 - 9:53 PM1 comment
Editor’s Note: Due to reporter error, a previous version of this story incorrectly identified the Fremont player who scored on a fumble return. We regret the error.
HERRIMAN — The Herriman Mustangs came into Friday’s opening round playoff matchup with Fremont sporting a losing 4-5 overall record, but arguably having played the toughest schedule in the state.
The aggregate record of teams that defeated Herriman this season is 41-9, and featured the likes of East, Bingham and California’s Helix High. As of late, the challenging schedule paid off, as the Mustangs won four of five heading into the postseason.
Unfortunately for Fremont, Herriman continued to enhance its recent stellar play as it built a 45-0 third quarter lead before earning a 45-14 final decision to advance to face Pleasant Grove.
“That’s a good football team right there,” first-year Fremont head coach Ross Arnold said. “We wanted to shut the run down. We knew that was going to be a tough chore because they’re pretty big and the backs are good.
At the same time, we wanted to be able to take care of the pass and I thought for the most part we did a pretty decent job with the run, but we gave up too many big plays here and there that kept the chains moving.”
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The Mustangs stifled the Silver Wolves from the opening kickoff and took advantage of every Fremont miscue.
Following a Fremont three-and-out and a 19-yard punt to open the game, Herriman took advantage immediately. Blake Freeland capped a five-play drive with a short pass that Ben Fife took 29 yards to the end zone, breaking Silver Wolf tackles all along the way.
Following another Fremont three-and-out, Herriman’s Tyson Herrera returned the ensuing punt 52 yards for a touchdown to make it 14-0 less than midway through the opening period.
The Silver Wolves then went down 21-0 after an interception — the first of three on the night — gave the Mustangs the ball at the Fremont 31. Three plays later, Freeland threw his second touchdown completion with a 13-yard offering to Jake Anderson.
“Obviously, some things didn’t go right out of the gate with a three-and-out on offense and the shanked punt,” Arnold said. “Then we gave up a score right away on defense and a punt return for a touchdown after that. So we got behind the eight ball right away and things kind of snowballed for a little bit.”
The Mustangs tacked on a 13-yard Quincy Sandoval scoring run up the middle and a 25-yard field goal to make it 31-0 at the break.
The Fremont offense struggled to an output of only 29 yards of total offense in the first half, to go with two turnovers. For the game, the Silver Wolves only had three offensive plays that resulted in gains of over 10 yards — one for 11 yards and a pair of 12-yard sequences — as the Mustang defense bottled up an offense that came in averaging 24 points per game.
“We tell them it’s kind of like life,” Arnold said about his halftime message. “If things aren’t going so well you have two choices: You can quit or you can dig in and work a little harder. It’s a life lesson and, to their credit, they kept fighting.”
Herriman tacked on two more touchdowns in the third quarter before Fremont scored twice in the final minutes.
Jay Scott barreled in from 4 yards out to put the Silver Wolves on the scoreboard. On Herriman’s next play from scrimmage, Fremont’s Preston Medeiros stripped the ball from the Mustang running back and rumbled 24 yards for a score.
“I’m extremely proud of them,” Arnold said about the season overall. “They did everything we asked them to do all year. They compete to the very end. They always have. That showed every game we played and so it’s been a really fun year.”
Fremont finishes its season 6-4.
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