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Fremd came up with its own version of Mr. Inside and Mr. Outside in the backyard brawl with Palatine on Friday.
With Jeff McGlade pounding the ball between the tackles for Fremd, Garrett Groot was able to find room on the outside, scoring 4 touchdowns and a conversion as Fremd won its hometown battle 28-26 before an overflow crowd of 5,000.
McGlade and Groot looked like an update on the famed Army duo of the mid 1940s, Doc Blanchard and Glenn Davis. McGlade and Groot complemented each other nicely, combining for 369 rushing yards on 61 carries.
"I love being outside," said Groot, who had a career-high 30 carries for 191 yards. "With McGlade lead-blocking and my offensive line, it becomes much easier."
"I like getting hit and I like hitting people," said McGlade, who also had a career-high 31 carries for 178 yards. "It is fun for me. When I am on offense I like to play like a linebacker. That's my mentality."
Fremd coach Lou Sponsel liked the way both Groot and McGlade ran the ball.
"McGlade and Groot," Sponsel said. "Doing what they do. That is what this game is about."
The pair made things look easy as Fremd (4-2, 2-1) scored on its first possession. Alternating carries, the twosome moved the ball 51 yards in 5 plays, with Groot scoring on a 3-yard run. Groot then ran for the conversion and an 8-0 lead.
Palatine (4-3, 1-2) tallied late in the first quarter to close the gap.
Facing a third-and-5 at the Fremd 49, Nick Orlando hit Eric Theis on 6-yard arrow pass. Theis then split the Palatine defenders, taking the ball the distance as the Pirates closed to 8-6 after the conversion kick sailed wide.
Late in the first quarter and into the second quarter Mr. Inside and Mr. Outside were at it again.
An interception by Fremd's Anthony Halvorsen gave the Vikings the ball at their own 3. Fremd then mounted an impressive 12-play, 97-yard scoring drive that was capped by Groot's 23-yard run around the right end. Fremd's conversion run failed and the Vikings led 14-6 with 8:27 left in the first half.
Three plays later Palatine was able to tie the game. Christopher Cornelius busted off a 57-yard run and Orlando connected with Theis on the conversion to tie the game at 14-14.
Palatine began to gain momentum as the Pirates pulled ahead with 3:24 left in the half. Orlando scored on a read-option from 11 yards out, but Fremd's Jawan Gaines blocked the conversion kick to make it 20-14.
Fremd's Sam Beutler, who after doctor cleared him to play, returned to action after tearing his ACL in his right knee two weeks ago.
Beutler tried to get the Vikings down the field as the first half clock was running down. But with 16 second left in the half, Beutler's pass was deflected and then intercepted by Palatine's Vincent Serio, who returned it to the Viking 2 with 2 seconds left in the half.
Palatine eschewed the field goal, opting for a pass from Orlando. But his attempt to hit Theis in the end zone was kicked down.
"We had the momentum so we decided to go for the touchdown," Palatine coach Rick Splitt said. "Even though we missed on it, we felt good about how we played."
But it was Fremd that regained momentum thanks to an 11-play, 69 yard drive.
With the blocking of Brad Ruehrdanz, Jake Plantz, Ryan Comstock, Dominic Lombard, Scott Hoffman and Clayton Dukewich, Fremd was able to gain all of the yards on the ground. Again it was Groot scoring, this time from 12 yards out and Andrew Stark nailed the conversion as Fremd regained the lead 21-20 with 3:17 left in the third quarter.
The Viking defense then took a cue from the offense, making key adjustments to stymie Palatine's offense. Led by Stephen Walsh, John Magnani, Brandon Barwacz, Joshua Soland, Jack Hansen, Erik Nelson and Vincent Donile, Fremd held Palatine to just 17 yards and 1 first down.
"We had to stop them on the inside," said Walsh, who led the Vikings with 11 tackles including a bruising tackle of Cornelius on a screen pass for a loss. "We switched our front to take away the cutback. That helped and we just made plays."
Fremd increased its lead to 28-20 just two plays into the fourth quarter. Groot tallied from 2 yards out and Stark nailed the kick as the Vikings were in control.
But that control got lost when midway into the fourth quarter, Fremd failed to convert a fake punt from its own 20.
With new life, Palatine scored 6 plays later on a one-yard run by Orlando to make it 28-26. Needing the conversion to tie, Orlando was flushed by the Fremd defensive line and ended up retreating to the 30. There, with Halvorsen in his face, his pass fell well short of a Palatine player.
Fremd drove to the Palatine 13 where it turned the ball over with 24 second left. Halvorsen then intercepted a pass to seal the victory — and bragging rights — for the Vikings.
"It was a great high school game and a lot of fun," Splitt said. "I am proud of my boys. They fought hard and played hard. They lost on the scoreboard but they had a lot of good battles."