Friday night’s high school football matchup between Fremont and Woodside lived up to its billing of two teams with 4-2 records heading into the contest. The Firebirds and Wildcats went back and forth all game long, with neither team going up by more than a touchdown.
Woodside opened the scoring with a touchdown drive in the first quarter that was matched by Fremont quarterback Henry Buenrostro rushing for a touchdown. Fremont would then go up seven after their defense shut down the Wildcats’ ground game. Buenrostro found paydirt again with a run up the middle to make it 14-7.
Woodside responded in kind though, after Fremont clanked a field goal attempt off the upright, the Wildcats took their next drive down for a tying touchdown. The two squads were knotted up again.
After a Fremont fumble, Woodside took back the lead with a touchdown drive to go up 21-14, a lead they would carry into halftime.
The Firebirds defense came out ready to go in the third quarter and immediately got the ball back for their offense. A strong punt return from speedster Jordan McKinney helped set up a tying touchdown drive and the teams were back square at 21-21.
After the Fremont defense recovered a fumble, the offense was driving down into the red zone but an incredible interception by Woodside kept the score tied. The Wildcats then took their next possession down the field to go up 28-21. A tough turn of events for the Firebirds, as it appeared they were the squad poised to go up 28-21. Fremont would not quit, however.
The Firebirds managed a fourth touchdown drive to get into position to tie the game, but the critical point after was blocked. Fremont’s defense managed to hold off Woodside to get the offense the ball back one more time with under two minutes remaining and down by just one. Fremont managed to move into position for what would have been a game-winning, 29-yard field goal with sixteen seconds left. Unfortunately for Firebirds fans, the kick was blocked again and returned for a touchdown, making the final score 34-27.
“I thought our kids played really hard, we had a lot of guys making plays,” chimed Fremont Head Coach Rob Swartz on the hard-luck loss. “Both teams played well, we held them in the fourth quarter with a chance to get the ball back under two minutes. Jordan McKinney had a great return to set us up and we had a chance to kick the winning field goal, but unfortunately, they blocked it.”
Despite the blocked kick and the loss, there were a number of positives for the Firebirds. The defense came up with big stops in crunch time, allowing just one score in the second half. Offensively, they got big plays out of both quarterbacks in their two quarterback system. Both Buenrostro and Gannon Stein threw for over 100 yards, while Buenrostro added 79 of the team’s 151 yards rushing.
The two quarterbacks utilized a pair of strong receivers. Junior Evan Eatock grabbed 4 balls for 78 yards, while McKinny added 2 receptions for 57 yards. It was a strong performance from the offense considering they continue to miss top running back Don Martinez due to injury.
Fremont will look to get back on track when they play at Saratoga on Thursday, Oct. 20.