Prep football: Dru Gardner throws 4 touchdowns to lead Roy past Fremont, 34-21
ROY — Dru Gardner was throwing the lights out for Roy High football.
Midway through the third quarter of Friday’s game against rival Fremont, the sophomore gunslinger threw a 25-yard touchdown to DaVon Harvey to put the Royals ahead 31-7.
Then the stadium lights literally went out, making the field dark. Every other light nearby stayed on, including the scoreboard and press box.
The 25-minute light delay was one of very few dark periods in an otherwise sparkling night for the bright-yellow Royals, who raced ahead of their rival Silverwolves and won 34-21.
Friday’s 13-point win was Roy’s (1-1) biggest win over Fremont since a 26-0 shutout in 2012. Gardner, making his first start, threw four touchdowns to four different receivers against one interception.
“I was just reading the defense, watching their safeties roll down, they ran a lot of cover three and just reacted,” Gardner said. “Our coaches came up with a great game plan, had the best playcalls … and our scheme just kept working.”
The Silverwolves (0-2) haven’t won at Durbano Field since 2009.
Considering both teams got run off the field last week against Utah County powerhouses, it was difficult to predict anything but a close, one-score game Friday night, especially given this game’s history of producing barnburners.
“We knew what our boys are capable of, we knew what they were going to do, honestly, if they just believed in themselves and if we just trusted each other,” Roy coach Chris Solomona said. “They did a great job, they responded really well and I can’t say enough about their hard work throughout the week.”
Roy started quickly as a result of its quick tempo on offense and a quick succession of big plays made by Jacob Viers in the first two minutes of the game.
Viers intercepted Fremont quarterback Bodee Goins, then caught a 61-yard pass down the left side on Roy’s next offensive play.
Cole West then took a quick screen pass for a touchdown and a 7-0 lead. Fremont punted, then the Royals went and scored another TD to finish an 87-yard drive.
This time, Gardner found Cove Rodriguez for a 26-yard pass on third-and-11 to get the Royals across midfield. A few plays later, Gardner escaped pressure and flipped the ball over a defender to Rodriguez, who made it a 15-yard receiving TD for a 14-0 lead.
Roy freshman Isaiah Morris picked off Goins and a couple big runs on offense by DaeQwan Snider put Roy in the red zone, but this time the Silverwolves defense held. Roy’s Aidan Hart kicked a 24-yard field goal for a 17-0 lead and it was still the first quarter.
“Biggest game of the year, this is huge for the Roy community. Everyone was here, fun game,” Gardner said. “We knew we needed to have some redemption coming into this game. It was a tense week, we were all excited and ready for this game and I’m happy we were able to show everyone what we were about.”
Roy’s offensive pace caught Fremont off guard and Gardner did well to hit quick slants as well as quick streaks to slot receivers. Later, the Royals ran the ball out of a heavy set to break the monotony.
Roy’s defense made a fourth-down stop the next drive in the second quarter, then Corben Schuffenhaur picked off Goins in the red zone to stop what surely was about to be a Fremont scoring drive.
Fremont’s next time down the field resulted in a touchdown as Christian Blanch took a screen pass and ran over Schuffenhaur at the goal line to cut the lead to 17-7.
Momentum didn’t change to the white-clad Silverwolves, though.
Roy sophomore Robert Young caught a 25-yard touchdown pass from Gardner on the Royals’ first drive after halftime. Gardner rolled left to find Young, who cut inside past two defenders for the score.
One play later, Roy forced a fumble from a scrambling Goins and scored yet another TD, this one the Gardner toss to Harvey for the lights-out moment of the game and a 31-7 lead.
“Dru’s doing a really good job,” Solomona said. “There’s still some mistakes that he makes, but it’s normal for a sophomore. He’s still finding his way; overall, I can’t be more proud of Dru.”
Roy once again forced a three-and-out on defense and nearly went ahead 38-7 until Fremont’s Noah Austin perfectly read Gardner’s pass up the seam, which Roy had thrown all night, and took it for a long touchdown to cut the deficit to 31-14.
Hart made a 28-yard field goal midway through the fourth quarter (34-14) and the next time Fremont came out, freshman Slade Parker was at quarterback instead of Goins.
Fremont sustained a drive and scored with a short plunge by Brigg Grange.
Plenty of time remained for the Silverwolves to make up a 13-point deficit and crazier things have happened in this rivalry before, but Viers bagged his second interception of the night and closed the window.
In the end, Roy forced five turnovers and Fremont forced one.
Connect with reporter Patrick Carr via email at email@example.com, Twitter @patrickcarr_ and Instagram @standardexaminersports.