High school football: Syracuse overcomes slow start to beat Fremont and clinch Region 1 title

By Jolene Goff

For the Deseret News

Published: Saturday, Oct. 6 2012 2:07 p.m. MDT

Titan RB Dillon Spencer (21) brushes aside Fremont's defense on a touchdown run.

Steve O'Camb

SYRACUSE — Tension and nervous energy electrified the field and stands Friday night as the Syracuse Titans took on the Fremont Silver Wolves. Fremont had dominated the series in previous years, but the Titans were determined to close the book on that history.

That's precisely what they did, and payback for a defeat in last year's 5A semifinals was especially sweet as the undefeated Titans trampled Fremont, 46-8.

“Once our players got buckled down and back to work,” said coach Brian Berrong, “things started coming together, and our kids made plays. Defensive lineman Kaden Craig has made big plays all year, and tonight he made a nice catch and run. Anytime a DL gets any return yardage on an interception, it’s a good day.

"Our kids really had a total team effort. It seems like from one play to the next we had players battling for each other to keep things rolling. We had several kids under the weather tonight, but even they worked through it and played for the Titan Nation.”

Fremont's opening possession ended quickly with no gains on yardage and a QB sack by Braiden Tovey. A long-bomb pass by Syracuse QB Brock Anderson to Kiwa Mo’o brought the Titans to within easy scoring distance at the 7-yard line. And then the nervousness started to kick in — the Titans failed to convert downs to points — and Fremont took over on Syracuse’s 1-yard line.

Fremont QB Jordan Preator stepped back into the paint and was tackled by Cardon Malan and Kavika Fonua, giving Syracuse a safety and a 2-0 lead. Syracuse again failed to convert any points after the kickoff.

Fremont capitalized on a face-mask penalty, bringing the ball down to the 20-yard line. The Silver Wolves scored on a touchdown by Cole Bingham and a two-point pass to lead 8-2. Syracuse struggled to make plays against the Silverwolves until an interception by Diante Mitchell with seconds left on the first-quarter clock finally energized the Titans.

A 6-yard push up the middle by Mason Woodward delivered the first touchdown of the night. A huge 67-yard sprint into the end zone by Fonua gave the Titans their second touchdown of the second quarter, with Anderson adding both extra points. The third scoring play, on a QB keep and extra point by Brock Anderson, closed the first half. Syracuse pulled ahead 23-8.

“We started a little slow. I think there was a little bit of a letdown after the emotional game of last week against Northridge,” said coach Brian Berrong. “It took us a while to get going, and Fremont came out ready to play.”

Penalties stacked up against both teams, but the Silver Wolves’ momentum was permanently stalled in the third quarter with an amazing interception and 78-yard steamroll run by Titan DE Kaden Craig, who was finally tackled at the 5-yard line. The scoring hand-off to Woodward and extra point by Anderson closed the period at 30-8 in favor of the Titans.

First-down passes to Tyler Gilbert and Landon O’Camb by QB Spencer Johnson at the start of the fourth quarter set up a Titan field goal by Matt Kealamakia and elevated the score to 33-8. A Fremont kickoff fumble recovered by Syracuse RB Trevor Olsen drove the ball to the 14-yard line, where Landon Ostler carried the ball into the end zone.

Kealamakia completed the extra point for a score of 40-8. Austin Evans broke up a Fremont pass, triggering a Titan interception by Dillon Spencer. A Johnson pass to Spencer sealed the final score of the game, which ended in favor of the Titans, 46-8.

Syracuse completely dominated the night with 357 yards of total offense — keeping the Titans undefeated for the season. Brock Anderson was 13-19 passing for 152 yards and one touchdown. Mason Woodward had 13 carries for 40 yards and two rushing touchdowns. Kavika Fonua ended with six carries and 93 yards plus one touchdown and a safety to his credit. Running backs Landon Ostler and Dillon Spencer each had one touchdown on the ground. Kealamakia added the 35-yard field goal.

The Titans will meet the Weber Warriors on the road for the final Region 1 game of the season this Friday.

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