Balanced attack helps Fremd beat Hoffman Estates
It was perfect football weather when Hoffman Estates hosted Fremd in the Mid-Suburban League opening game for the 2021 spring football season Saturday afternoon.
And it turned out to be a competitive game as the host Hawks took an early 12-7 lead only to see the Vikings surge ahead for a 21-12 lead at halftime.
From there, Fremd relied on some strong running by senior Joey Rattin (110 yards on 19 carries) to help salt away a 35-24 MSL West Division victory.
Trailing 12-7, Fremd quarterback Ryan Saxe (7-for-15, 71 yards passing) scored on touchdown runs of 11 and 8 yards to give the Vikings the 9-point lead at the intermission.
"I'm ecstatic. Me and the guys have been working out since we found out our season got canceled last year and everything just came together today," said Rattin, who also had 2 interceptions in the contest. "We definitely played well, we can play a lot better, and we've all got to keep improving to get better and better each day."
A 1-yard TD run by Fremd's Taytum Carmichael followed by Rose Kentish's extra point brought the Vikings' lead to 28-12 with 3:50 left in the third quarter.
Hoffman Estates responded when quarterback Jesse Williams (7-for-13 passing, 95 yards) scored on a 1-yard keeper to cut the gap to 28-18 with 8:03 to play.
"You know what, for not having football for almost 500 days that was a very, very good opening game with a good mix of power, toughness, and speed on both sides," said Fremd coach Lou Sponsel, whose team had 18 first downs. "Joey is a tough kid, he's a special kid and he's one of those guys who is going to sacrifice and do whatever he can for his teammates who plays hard-nosed disciplined football."
Fremd put the game away when Rattin scored on a 2-yard TD run for a 35-18 lead with 3:36 to go. The Vikings got extra points from five different kickers.
The Hawks put together a late scoring drive capped by a 28-yard TD pass from Williams to Jaylen West in the right corner of the end zone with 26.8 seconds left.
Fremd's Archie Cox opened the scoring on a 12-yard TD catch from Saxe (11 rushes, 49 yards) before Williams scored on a 2-yard run to cut the lead to 7-6.
Hoffman Estates quarterback Joey Ayala (8-for-15, 63 yards passing) also saw a lot of playing time, and he scored on a 17-yard TD run for the early 12-7 lead. Ayala ran for 61 yards on 10 carries while teammate Mekhi Williams had 38 yards on 9 attempts.
"We were happy to be out here playing. They're back-to-back conference champs and I thought our kids battled," said Hoffman coach Tim Heyse. "Against a team like that you can't shoot yourself in the foot, and we had too many offensive holding calls and too many turnovers, but we live and we learn as we grow."