After rallying in their final two games of the season, Fremd needed another rally Saturday night. But this one fell just a little short as the Vikings were eliminated in Palatine from the 8A playoffs 31-24 at the hands of Glenbard North.
“Everyone said we didn’t deserve to be here,” said Fremd coach Lou Sponsel, whose Vikings won their final two games of the season to clinch a playoff spot in his first year as head coach.
“These kids are fighters. They came out and scrapped it and fought it right to the end," Sponsel said.
Fremd trailed 31- 14 just one play into the final quarter. But the Vikings rallied on the arm of backup quarterback Trever Cutler, who completed 5-of-7 passes, all in the final quarter for 99 yards and a touchdown.
“The goal was to get down the field,” Cutler said. “Pass. Pass. Pass. They were playing soft, so we just wanted to hit them.”
Fremd (5-5) took an early 3-0 lead, on a 25-yard field goal from Andrew Stark.
Glenabrd North came back to grab a 17-3 lead thanks to the running of Justin Jackson (33 carries, 186 yards, 3 touchdowns).
Fremd then mounted a 12-play, 78-yard drive behind the blocking of Jake Platz, Ryan Comstock, Scott Hoffman, RJ Tarallo, Kyle Gregory, Clayton Dukewich and Matt Konopka.
The Vikings moved to the one-yard line on a 29-yard pass from Matt Isola to William Money. On fourth and goal from the two, Jeff McGlade (22 carries, 125 yards) crashed over to make it 17-10 with 6:10 left in the third quarter.
A pair of touchdowns by Jackson then appeared to have Glenbard North (9-1) in command.
But the never-say-die attitude of the Vikings gave their near-capacity fans something to cheer for.
Cutler scored one-yard run after completing a 40-yard pass to Konopka to make it 31-17 with 5:17 to play. On the Vikings next possession, Cutler hooked up with Stark on a 26-yard touchdown pass to make it 31-14 with 2:43 to play.
But after a failed onside kick, Jackson came up with a key run on third down to end the Vikings’ season.
“We left a great base for the future of Fremd football,” said senior defensive end Phil Hetzner. “We were making sure we worked hard to the end."
“With coach Sponsel coming in, we wanted to change some things,” Isola said. “We wanted to set this program right with hard work and laying the foundation for the future. And I think we did that.”
Glenbard North 31 Fremd 24
Glenbard North 7 10 7 7 – 31
Fremd 3 0 7 14 – 24
Fre: Stark 25 field goal
Gbn: Jackson 56 run (Ortiz kick)
Gbn: Leckner, 24 pass from Murphy (Ortiz kick)
Gbn: Ortiz, 37 field goal
Fre: McGlade, 2 run (Stark kick)
Gbn: Jackson 8 run (Ortiz kick)
Gbn: Jackson, 61 pass from Murphy (Ortiz kick)
Fre: Cutler 1 run (Stark kick)
Fre: Stark, 26 pass from Cutler (Stark kick)
First downs 13 13
Total yards 316 310
Yards rushing 217 182
Yards passing 99 128
Passing 3-4-0 6-9-0
Punting 2-20.0 3-37.1
Fumbles-lost 1-1 0-0
Penalties-yards 3-25 2-10
Rushing : Gbn: Jackson 33-186, Murphy 5-31.Fr: McGlade 22-125, Groot 5-15, Bossong 6-13, Isola 5-13, Money 3-11, Cutler 1-1.
Passing: Gbn: Murphy 3-4-99-0. Fre: Cutler 5-7-99-0, Isola 1-2-29-0.
Receiving: Gbn: Jackson 2-75, Leckner 1-24. Fr: Konopka 3-56, Money 1-29, Stark 1-26, Gaines 1-17.
Punting: Gbn: Petock 2-40-20.0 Fr: Stark 3-112-37.1