The Sunnyvale Fremont Firebirds began their 2018 season campaign with a 27-24 road loss to the Los Altos Eagles on Saturday afternoon.
The Firebirds fought hard all day long after falling behind 27-10 midway through the fourth quarter until back-to-back touchdowns by quarterback Bryand Arcia. One was a 60-yard blazing run to cut the deficit to 27-17. The other — after getting a 3-and-out from the Firebird defense — was a long, high-arching throw that landed in the hands of his receiver to make it 27-24. However, the Firebirds could not secure the onside kick and the Eagles melted the clock down to triple zeros.
Fremont Head Coach Adam Herald was pleased with the fight and grit his team showed in their season opening game, but there could be some aspects of the game that could be cleaned up.
“I was happy with the effort,” said coach Herald. “We played all the way to the end. We knew it was going to be a tough game.”
The Firebirds committed 27 penalties — that was one of the reasons that prevented them from making a full comeback on the Eagles.
“We got to be more disciplined,” said coach Herald. “We gave them a lot of free penalties because we weren’t disciplined enough.”
Both teams played to a standstill in the first half, and the first score of the game did not come until Fremont’s field goal by junior kicker Freddie Reyes with 5:39 left in the third quarter to make it 3-0 Firebirds. However, the Firebird lead dissipated quickly with a Los Altos touchdown on the ensuing possession to make it 6-3.
The Eagles took a 6-3 lead into the fourth quarter, before they snatched a 13-3 lead 10 seconds into the final stanza. Fremont came back with a touchdown of their own to cut the lead to 13-10, until Los Altos scored back-to-back touchdowns to seemingly put the game out of reach. But Fremont rallied to cut it to three points, but never got any closer.
The game included a couple of injury scares for the Firebirds as Arcia went down hard in the fourth quarter after being tackled out of bounds. Arcia was attended to by the trainer for his leg and finished out the game. However, running back, Maake Tuulakitau was not as lucky as his teammate. Tuulakitau, who was barreling into the Eagles’ defense all day, took a hard hit, and seemingly twisted his ankle or hurt his Achilles.
There is still a long season ahead of the Firebirds to bounce back from this opening loss to the Eagles.
“We got a long way to go, but we just got to keep pounding and we’ll be fine,” coach Herald said.
The Firebirds play Friday at home against the Leland Chargers at 7 p.m.