PLAIN CITY — Not sure whether it was Confucius, Aristotle or Jimmy the Greek, but some wise guy once proclaimed that it's awfully tough to beat a team twice in the same season.
And ever since, that axiom has been accepted as the gospel truth in all of sports.
Well, apparently Fremont High didn't get the memo.
The Silver Wolves, who barely turned back Brighton in Week 2 of the 2011 season, unleashed a punishing ground attack and a fierce, unyielding defensive effort to blast the Bengals, 43-15, in a first-round 5A playoff mismatch played on a perfect fall afternoon for football on Friday at Moyes Field.
With the win, Fremont (8-2) advances to the 5A quarterfinals for a much-anticipated rematch with defending 5A champion Bingham, which whipped the Wolves in last year's 5A title game.
Jordan Preator, Fremont's elusive junior quarterback who shares the Silver Wolves' signal-calling chores with senior Cooper Kelley, rushed for 126 yards on 10 carries — you don't have to be a wise guy to know that's an average of 12.6 yards per carry — including touchdown bursts of 20 and 29 yards. He also scampered 94 yards on a kickoff return for another score.
"I just saw a big hole, got some good blocks, followed my blockers and trusted they would be there," Preator said of his scintillating kickoff return, which came right after Brighton's first touchdown and took the wind right back out of the Bengals sails. "Right after the kid tried to tackle me and I bounced to the outside, I just saw a lot of field in front of me and then Skyler Simmons made a great block on the kicker. Right after he made that block, that's all I needed."
Senior running back Nick Vigil added 100 more yards rushing and two short TD plunges for Fremont, and the Wolves' defense did the rest, as Josh Talbot, Luke Hollingsworth, Jaz Johnstun and Vigil led the way in shutting down the Bengals (5-4) to the tune of just 198 total yards.
It made for a much more decisive victory than the 20-15 nail-biter the Wolves won over the Bengals nine weeks earlier.
"I am surprised about the final score, and I'm happy," Fremont coach Kory Bosgieter said. "Our kids played well.
"Our consistency was much better this time. Overall in all three phases, where we had lapses the last time we played 'em, we did a better job this time. We're not perfect by any means; there's plenty to work on.
"I've got to credit our coaches," Bosgieter said, citing the work done by assistants Ross Arnold and Lance Mimnaugh in particular. "I think our coaches do a very good job with our personnel. We narrow things down to what our kids can do the best. Coach Arnold and Coach Mims, do a very good job of that. ... Our defense has been playing very well. We run to the ball and those guys are experienced. You hold that team to that few of points — and they've beat some good teams this year — you've done a good job."
Fremont wasted no time getting on the scoreboard, going 38 yards in just three plays following a superb punt return by Rowdy Stucki. Vigil took the ball 21 yards to the Brighton 1, and Hollingsworth powered into the end zone from there. Vigil's two-point conversion run made it 8-0 with 10:16 still showing on the first-quarter clock. Fremont squandered a couple more scoring opportunities inside Brighton territory, but another slick punt return by Stucki soon had the Silver Wolves knocking on the door again. Pretty quickly, Preator sliced through Brighton's defense for a 20-yard touchdown run, and Logan George added the first of five PAT kicks for a 15-0 advantage.
Late in the first half, Fremont got the ball back at its own 15-yard line with 1:58 remaining until halftime, and the Wolves went on a textbook two-minute drill.
Kelley, Preator, Stucki, Vigil and Brock Smith led the way on an 85-yard drive, with Vigil going the final yard for a 22-0 lead at intermission.
And while Preator and Vigil were taking turns lighting the scoreboard, Bosgieter gave his offensive line some well-deserved credit.
"Don't forget there's some guys up front doing some good things for them, too," the Wolves' coach said.
Fremont took the second-half kickoff and went 65 yards in just four plays, as Preator and Vigil took turns breaking off big chunks of yardage before Preator broke loose on a 29-yard scoring scamper that made it 29-0 early in the third quarter.
Brighton finally got on the board when Andy Jones hooked up with Zach Wertz on a 17-yard scoring strike to give the Bengals a glimmer of hope.
But not for long.
On the ensuing kickoff, Preator hauled the kick in at his own 6, scooted upfield and, thanks to Simmons' block that helped spring him loose, went the distance to make it 36-7.
"We just came out and came hitting them in the mouth, played tough and tried to stay on 'em all game," Preator said. "We gave up a few more points than we wanted to on defense, but overall we played pretty good."
Early in the fourth period, Kelley, Vigil, Preator and Calvin Carter fueled another 70-yard scoring march, capped by Vigil's second one-yard scoring plunge of the day to make it 43-7.
Brighton got on the board again late in the fourth quarter when Brayden El-Bakri powered his way into the end zone from two yards out, then added the two-point conversion run as well to make it 43-15. But in all honesty, wise guy, this one was over long before that.
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