By Dave Tomczak
Local Sports Journal
On a night when Tyler Fehler passed for 121 yards and rushed for another 40, only a bum ankle could slow down the Fruitport quarterback.
And for visiting Fremont, by then, it was too late.
Fehler ran for a touchdown and passed for two others as the Trojans opened up a 28-0 lead and cruised to a 35-0 Lakes 8 Conference opening victory Friday.
“We really challenged the offense this week,” Fruitport coach Greg Vargas said. “We had a lot to improve on from last week and we came out much more focused offensively.”
It didn’t take long for the Trojans (2-0) to jump ahead of the Packers (1-1). They scored on their sixth play of the game, as Dakota Gordon rumbled through the line and sprinted for a 50-yard score.
“(Their) corners came hard to the hole and I saw them and just made a cut,” Gordon said. “Our line did a great job, it’s hard not to run behind them.”
Fremont responded with a long drive that saw it reach the Trojans 35. After going for it on fourth down and converting, the Packers faced another fourth down to keep the drive alive. This time, the Trojans defense held its ground, forcing Fremont quarterback Christian Wade to throw an incomplete pass.
The Trojans took over and put together another 6-play drive, resulting in a 14-0 lead when Fehler dove in from a yard out.
With a two-touchdown lead to start the second quarter, Fruitport went to the air.
Following an interception of Wade by Mitchell Reyes, Fehler connected with Shawn Knox for a 7-yard TD strike and a 21-0 lead.
On its next possession, Fruitport started off with a 7-yard carry by Gordon, followed by Fehler connecting on a 5-yard pass to Knox, a 13-yard gain to Austin Curtis and then a 31-yard strike to Aaron Veihl for a touchdown and a 28-0 lead.
“We want to be able to run and pass,” Vargas said. “(And) Tyler embodies that philosophy. We’ve been on him all week to be more threatening and the defense has to honor him on both.”
Looking to add another score before the half, Fehler got the offense to midfield before the drive stalled. On the final play of the drive, Fehler would come up limping after an incomplete pass.
The Trojans’ QB made it to the sideline before going down with a sprained ankle. He would not return for the second half.
“There was no reason to push him,” Vargas, whose team hosts Spring Lake next week, said. “We’ll have it looked at and know better later in the week.”
After a three-and-out by the Packers to start the second half, Gordon added the game’s final score and started the running clock, with a 70-yard touchdown run.
“It’s real simple,” Fremont coach Rob Pouch said. “We didn’t show up tonight. It’s one of those things, we did a good job of blocking and tackling last week and we didn’t do it this week. (And) our offense didn’t help us out with dropped balls early on.”
With the Trojans holding a big lead and putting a stop to anything close to a Packers’ running game, Fremont tried to battle back through the air. But Fruitport snuffed out any scoring chances with three interceptions, two by Reyes.
“Our cornerbacks are 5-foot-8 and 5-foot-9,” Vargas said. “We just try to teach them good technique and hope they play well every week.”
For the game, Fruitport finished with 424 total yards, including 303 on the ground. Gordon led the rushing attack, finishing with 171 yards on eight carries.
Veihl had two receptions for 58 yards and Knox finished with four for 47.
The Trojans’ defense limited Fremont to 16 yards rushing and were led by Gordon with 12 tackles.
The Packers finished with 238 total yards, 222 through the air, as Wade finished the night completing 14-of-33 pass attempts.
Mike Siegel led Fremont in receiving with five catches for 70 yards and Blake Siersema had four catches for 68 yards.