Football comes up just short against Schaumburg

Logue video by Garrett Garcia

Scott Lenz, Lead Sports Editor

On a soggy senior night, Fremd faced Schaumburg looking to solidify their place in the Class 8A State playoffs. The Saxons came in needing a win to move their record to 5-4 to have any chance at making the postseason. Fremd mounted a final drive with just under three minutes left in the game, but came up short falling 22-24.

The Vikings opened the game on defense, but a quick stop gave the offense their first opportunity of the match. A 39-yard run by senior halfback Charlie Kaye set up a chip-shot field goal attempt for senior Brody Martin, putting Fremd up 3-0 midway through the first quarter.

Senior Alex Johnson details the impact of the adverse weather conditions, forcing the offense to rely more heavily on the run game than in previous contests.

“Since it was raining we wanted to pound the ball at them more, instead of our usual approach of throwing the ball in a spread offense,” Johnson said. “That worked pretty well for us at points and drove our offense for most of the game.”

With a playoff berth on the line, Schaumburg took more risks than usual, converting on two consecutive fourth downs to end the first quarter. The Vikings dominated the field position battle in the second quarter pinning the Saxons inside their own twenty yard line on a punt and kick-off.

Head coach Lou Sponsel emphasizes the impact of helping the defense by increasing the distance the opposing offense has to move the ball to put points on the board.

“Field position is huge. When you have to start on your own ten instead of at mid-field your chances of scoring are cut in half,” Sponsel said. “It’s a pretty big advantage to have a good kicker and find success in the field position game.”

After two Schaumburg rushing touchdowns, the Vikings responded with a quick one-minute drive highlighted by a 61-yard strike from junior quarterback Tommy Josten to senior wide receiver Kenney Lyke. A 17-yard touchdown pass to Lyke capped the drive, but a muffed snap on the extra point kept Fremd down five points 9-14.

Junior wide receiver Zach Goodman understands the importance of long passes and rushes in the success of the offense.

Big plays are essential to every offense,” Goodman said. “They get the crowd involved and overall boost the momentum of the game in our favor. The atmosphere changes completely which helps our team.

Fremd ended the half with a 28-yard touchdown pass to junior running back Alec Honickel, who replaced the injured Kaye during the first quarter. Although the Vikings entered the third quarter leading 16-14, Johnson describes the importance of keeping the pressure on Schaumburg in the second half.

“The coaches’ message at halftime was to not get comfortable,” Johnson said. “We’ve let a lot of teams back into the game after halftime in the past and we didn’t want that to happen again.”

Turnovers defined Fremd’s third quarter, with two interceptions and a fumble that was returned for a touchdown by the Saxons. Despite great field position for Schaumburg, the Vikings’ defense held them to just three points in the third quarter, and shut them out in the fourth.

Sponsel highlights the defensive adjustments that allowed for their dominance in the second half.

“Their first couple of drives we had some guys missing assignments and we busted on some of our schemes,” Sponsel said. “We went back to the sideline and got the problems corrected. After that they didn’t really move the ball well for the rest of the game.”

The Vikings pulled within two points after a nine-yard touchdown run by Honickel, but failed to find the endzone on their two point conversion attempt. Fremd’s defense stopped Schaumburg on fourth down to give their offense a final drive to try and win the game. A key third down conversion pass from Josten to Goodman around mid-field kept the team’s hopes alive.

Goodman points out how the offense came together in the concluding minutes of the game.

On the final drive our line really stepped it up by making a big hole for Alec and also by giving Tom enough time to make plays,” Goodman said.

The Vikings’ drive stalled at the Saxon 19 yard line, setting up a field goal opportunity for Fremd with 27 seconds remaining in the match. The try pulled just to the left of the uprights, ending the game in a victory for Schaumburg 22-24. Fremd travels to Oak Park and River Forest for their first round Class 8A playoff game on Oct. 30.