There was no mistaking it.
Thursday night - especially the first three quarters of the Layton/Fremont game - was definitely the first day of the high school football season.The fourth quarter, however, was a return of the Silver Wolves to the ranks of title contenders.
Fremont erupted for 19 fourth-quarter points to upend 5A's Lay-ton 25-12 and serve notice to the rest of 4A that the Wolves aren't to be taken lightly.
While most teams might approach the season conservatively, Fremont went right at the Lancers with its trademark wide-open passing game.
The only problem was the passes and the receivers were a few yards apart at all the wrong times.
"It's hard to stimulate the speed of the other team," said a victorious Fremont coach Blaine Monkres. "But once we got used to being out there with people on us, we were able to find the mark."
Quarterback Jake Jensen certainly found his throwing rhythm as the game progressed. After just missing his receiver several times on long routes earlier in the game, he found junior wideout Marc Hansen for an 86-yard touchdown.
Hansen had started outside, weaved his way to the middle of the field where he caught the softly thrown ball and proceeded to outrace Layton safety Kyle Harmon for a game-tying score.
Moments later, Greg Day hauled in a Lancer punt and rambled 43 yards down the right sideline to put the Silver Wolves ahead.
"That's the one that put it away," Monkres said. "We had a few big plays, but I think that one did it for us."
Layton turned the ball over four times in the game to negate a potentially bruising running game. Mike Bird rambled for 72 yards and a pair of touchdowns for the Lancers, but two interceptions, a fumbled punt and a handful of fumbled running attempts hurt Layton.
In fact, the Lancers had a chance to put Fremont in a big hole early but wasted a prime scoring opportunity. After a Fremont interception opened the game, Layton marched to the Fremont 3-yard line.
But on first and goal, quarterback Trevor Thomas had the ball stripped from his hands on a keeper up the middle and Fremont escaped.
After a 6-6 halftime score, Layton took the lead on Bird's second touchdown - a 34-yard run over the top of a few Fremont defensive backs with six seconds left in the third quarter.
That was all the offense Layton could muster in the game, though. The Silver Wolves, on the other hand, were just getting warmed up.
Less than a minute after Bird's score, Hansen scored. 90 seconds later, Day scored on the punt return.
Layton tried to get back into the game but punted and Fremont took the ball with a 12-point lead and 6:36 on the clock.
Monkres opted to use the ground game and promptly marched downfield while eating as much clock as possible. With 1:11 to play, Jake Hannum took a fourth-and-two play up the middle, cut to the right and after a few jukes and jives, was standing in the end zone with a 26-yard touchdown that put the game out of reach.