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Fremont Firebirds’ Defense Delivers Dominant Shutout 

Fremont's defense helped lead the Firebirds to a 35-0 shutout victory over the Westmont Warriors with four forced turnovers.

Friday night’s Week 2 matchup between the (0-1) Fremont Firebirds and (1-0) Westmont Warriors ended in a resounding evening up of said records. It began with an electrifying pick-six interception from Fremont junior cornerback Jadon Smith. The 5-foot-8-inch defensive back snared a pass near the left sideline by jumping the route and scampering 30 yards to paydirt.

“I was watching film all before the game, so it just came natural. I knew they were gonna run the 10-yard hitch,” chimed Smith on the early interception. “I broke down on it and got it. I knew we needed a big play to start the game, so I came with the energy.”

Smith’s interception put the Firebirds up 7-0 just over halfway through the first quarter. As it turns out, it would be all the scoring Fremont needed in this one. The Firebirds’ defense was relentless all night long.

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On Westmont’s ensuing drive, Fremont defensive end Gannon Stein would get loose into the backfield forcing an errant throw by the Warriors’ quarterback. The ball floated up into the air and down into the diving hands of Alex Shahbazi. Just like that, two turnovers in two possessions for the Firebirds’ defense.

“He’s a real physical player; he ends up with a lot of tackles,” praised Fremont Head Coach Rob Swartz on the six-foot-one-inch, 205-pound Stein. “Last week he played really well. He was going up against Palo Alto’s big kid, a kid who I think he’s a three-star recruit at tackle. He’s probably 6-foot-6 [inch], 330 [pounds]. He was one on one with him most of the night, giving up over 100 pounds. He’s fearless, a physical guy who played well tonight and last week also.”

Stein and Shahbazi’s combination turnover set up the Fremont offense with excellent field position near midfield. The drive appeared to be stalled though until senior tailback Don Martinez broke loose for a 40-yard run down inside the Warriors’ five-yard line.

One play later, quarterback Henry Buenrostro was into the endzone on a quarterback keeper to put Fremont up 14-0.

On the very next play from scrimmage, the Firebirds’ defense would force its third straight turnover. A run up the middle was fumbled and the Firebirds would recover at the Westmont 30-yard line. After a nice 20-yard run by senior Jonathan Delos Santos, it would be Martinez punching the ball over the line for a touchdown and a 21-0 lead.

“Overall, our defense was amazing; we forced four turnovers,” noted Swartz. “That’s outstanding. I think defensively we are so much better than we were the last year or two. The physical play from our linebackers and all of our inside guys is just fantastic.”

The fourth and final turnover of the night came via the one who started it all. Smith’s second interception of the game set up a 70-yard touchdown run by Alexander Solarez to cap the scoring at 35-0.

Fremont will now look to build off the impressive shutout victory and improve to 2-1 when the team hosts Monta Vista on Saturday, Sept. 9.

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