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Viking football’s decisive victory pushes them into playoffs

Photo+Courtesy+of+Karis+Jang
Photo Courtesy of Karis Jang

Photo Courtesy of Karis Jang

Photo Courtesy of Karis Jang

William Li, Contributing Writer

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Game nine of Fremd’s football season had a lot on the line for both teams. It was the final game of the season and the winner of this game would make the playoffs.

Junior wide receiver and defensive back Jack Hipchen highlighted the significance of this game.

“We are both fighting for a playoff spot so we don’t expect this to be a blowout game,” Hipchen said.

After last year’s disappointing 1-8 record, Fremd turned it around quickly this year. They ended this year’s regular season 5-4, winning five out of their last six games, after a dominant 48-13 win over Schaumburg.

Coach Sponsel explains the key to this recent success.

“The boys are playing together and I think their love for each other as teammates to keep this team alive was the biggest difference,” Sponsel said.

The game was off to a bad start because just less than 40 seconds into the game, there was a mouthguard malfunction which led to a fumbled snap that was recovered by the Saxons on the Vikings’ 22 yard line. Consequently, Schaumburg took a 7-0 lead less than a minute into the game.

Despite this early blunder, Fremd took control of the game; a kick return was the only other touchdown Schaumburg scored.

Through a strong run game, Fremd’s running back Nick Rattin broke not only Fremd’s single game rushing touchdown record, but also the rushing yardage record. Rattin rushed for a whopping 309 yards and six touchdowns.

It was clear since the start that Schaumburg could not contain Rattin as he was able to find gaping holes in the defense while shrugging off multiple tackles. Quarterback Ryan Saxe would score the first points for Fremd this game with a six yard touchdown.

After a strong defensive stand, Fremd got the ball back and Rattin capped off the drive with a 29-yard touchdown. Schaumburg scored their second and final touchdown in the second quarter off of a 90 yard kickoff return. The extra point was then blocked by Jack Hipchen, keeping Fremd in the lead 14-13. After this touchdown, Fremd took charge. In just the first half, Rattin scored four touchdowns on 29, 25, 12, and 74 yard runs.

On his fifth touchdown in the third quarter, he broke Fremd’s previous rushing touchdown record, set by Joe Chambers in 1995, off of a four yard touchdown run. In the middle of the third quarter, he played his last play of the regular season and scored a thirteen yard touchdown that would break the rushing yardage record with 309.

For the remainder of the game, no more points would be scored and Fremd ran out the clock to end it.

Despite a few mistakes, Sponsel was pleased with the team’s performance.

“We had a couple mishaps, but overall we played great. You don’t break two rushing records in a single game without them doing things right,” Sponsel said.

Coach Sponsel discussed Fremd’s future going into the playoffs.

“We won five of our last six and we’re conference co-champs. You’ve just got to understand that there is no easy team that gets into 8A playoffs. We’ve just got to do what we do and go out there and play great defense and control the clock and play good special teams and get a win against Homewood-Flossmoor,” Sponsel said.

In the end, Fremd would lose to Homewood-Flossmoor 21-0 in the first round of 8A playoffs, but this should not overshadow Fremd’s great improvement this year. Starting off the year 0-3, it seemed that Fremd was set for another rough tear. However, they were able to improve their record to 5-4 by the end of the season and put up a fight against one of the best high school football teams in Illinois.

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Viking football’s decisive victory pushes them into playoffs