Fremd savors OT victory at Conant

By Mike Brown
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 9/28/2017 10:05 PM

If you are a fan of fundamentally sound football, then you might not have fully enjoyed the performance at Conant on Thursday night.

Unless, of course, you were a Fremd fan.

The Vikings came into the game looking for their first win of the season and forced three Conant fumbles along with an interception to help propel them to a 26-18 overtime victory.

"At this point of the season we were just looking for a win," said Fremd coach Lou Sponsel. "It's good to see the kids finally get rewarded for their efforts. We fought until the final play."

The Vikings weren't too sure that this would be the first win of the season in the first half. The Cougars jumped out to an early 7-0 lead on a 3-yard run by Jack Reiger. Conant took over seven minutes off the clock and utilized 14 plays in the drive. Jessica Smeltzer converted the point after.

Conant (1-5, 1-1) went up 10-0 with just under four minutes left in the first half on a 28-yard field goal from Smeltzer.

A Conant fumble on the first play of the second half gave the Vikings possession at the Conant 41. Fremd (1-5, 1-1) got on the board with a 2-yard scoring run from sophomore quarterback Andrew Saxe. Rasheed Amos and Saxe carried the load on the 8-play drive; the point after failed.

The Fremd defense forced a punt on the Cougars' next possession and followed it up with an 11-play, 73-yard drive as Saxe scored from 1-yard out. The 2-point attempt failed.

Fremd forced another punt on Conant's ensuing drive and took over at its own 26. On the second play of the fourth quarter, Saxe took off on a 59-yard touchdown run to give the Vikings an 18-10 lead. Fremd failed on the conversion.

"We fought our butts off," said Saxe. "We believed in ourselves and didn't quit."

The Cougars had no quit in them, either, and marched 70 yards on 16 plays to cut the Fremd lead to 18-16. Reiger passed to Mason Sykes for 3 yards for the touchdown. Reiger was not to be denied and charged hard for a 2-point conversion to send the game into overtime.

Fremd got the ball first, and Nick Rattin scored on fourth and goal from 2 yards out and added the 2-point conversion. Conant got down to the 1, but a fumble into the end zone on third down sealed the victory for the Vikings.

Matt Vannieuwenhoven, Rattin and Luke Bilek recovered the fumbles for Fremd, and Bilek had the interception for the Vikes.

"It's the same thing every week, we just keep finding different ways to lose," said Conant coach Bryan Stortz. "Jack played his heart out but we just didn't have enough at the end."

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