CEDAR FALLS – Fremont-Mills put an exclamation point on a historic football season Friday as the Knights steamrolled Murray, 81-0, in the 8-player state championship game at the Cedar Falls UNI-Dome.
The victory capped a 13-0 season for Fremont-Mills and earned the Knights their first state championship. The outcome was never in doubt as the Knights raced to a 61-0 halftime lead and dominated Murray in every phase of the game, scoring eight touchdowns on offense and three on defense. Amazingly, Fremont-Mills ran only 28 offensive plays in the game (compared to 67 for Murray) and averaged 13.6 yards per snap.
“We played well, probably the best game we’ve played the whole season,” Fremont-Mills all-state running back Nate Meier said. “It was pretty emotional, pretty exciting in the locker room. This is what we’ve wanted to do ever since we were little.”
As he’s been the entire season, Meier was the catalyst of Fremont-Mills’ offensive attack against the Mustangs. He set a state championship game rushing record, netting 218 yards on just a dozen carries. And, oh, by the way, five of Meier’s carries went for touchdowns – also a state title game record.
“He’s just a special player. He does anything we ask him to do,” Fremont-Mills coach Jeremy Christiansen said of Meier. “He’s a great kid. He fits in with those seniors – they all do a great job.”
Meier’s touchdowns came on runs of 39, 32, 54, 8 and 4 yards.
Fremont-Mills quarterback AJ Scarborough also had a highly productive day. He rushed for 76 yards (on just four carries) and one touchdown and completed 2-of-2 pass attempts for 28 yards and two scores. Nick Williams was on the receiving end of Scarborough’s two touchdown passes, one for 15 yards and one for 13.
Scarborough was also one of Fremont-Mills defensive stars, recording two of the Knights’ five interceptions (a championship game record). He turned his first interception into a “Pick-6” as he raced nearly the length of the field for a 77-yard touchdown (another championship game record).
Speaking of championship game records, Scarborough and teammate Logan Wood are now two of only three players to record two interceptions in an eight-player title game. Wood did Scarborough one-up, however, returning both of his interceptions back for touchdowns. The first one went for 26 yards and the second for 74. Wood is the only player in the history of the state title game to return two interceptions back for scores.
Wood said the focus of the Knights’ defensive gameplan was to shut down Murray’s passing game.
“We practiced all week on their passing game. We knew that’s what we had to stop in this game,” Wood said. “We worked really hard on learning the routes they run and we just knew when they were coming.
“It was a big battle to shut them out. That was one of our main goals – to try to shut out as many people as possible this year. I’m glad we did in the state championship game.”
The Knights, who scored at least 56 points in every game this season and reached 80 on three occasions, earned the reputation of being an offensive juggernaut, but Christiansen and his players said they’ve taken just as much pride in their defensive play this season.
“The defense played well all year long,” Christiansen said. “In eight-man, everyone’s going to have a breakdown in coverage where somebody is going to break loose, but our defense allows us to play the type of offensive game we want to play, which is a grind-it-out type of offense. Obviously, this year it (offense) was very explosive in nature.”
Meier said pitching a shutout against the Mustangs was icing on the cake to a very special season.
“Our defense is designed not to let anyone score, so that was a pretty good feeling, especially in the state title game,” he said.
Clayton Wilson also had an interception for Fremont-Mills, returning it 44 yards. Seth Phillips was the Knights’ leading tackler with six solo stops, including a pair of quarterback sacks. Wood recorded 5.5 tackles and Curtis Beem finished the game with five.
Statistically, Fremont-Mills finished the game with 380 yards of total offense, compared to 199 for the Mustangs.
Murray head coach Keith Shields said his squad was simply overwhelmed by the Knights.
“Obviously, it wasn’t the way we wanted to finish out the season, but we’ve known all year that Fremont-Mills was a team that had an opportunity to probably be in the state championship game,” Shields said. “We feel like we have a good group of kids, but the matchups today were not good for us. They were just bigger, stronger and faster than us all the way around today.”
Christiansen said winning the state championship was the end to a long and successful journey for the Knights.
“It’s phenomenal. I don’t think you can put words to it quite yet,” Christiansen said. “We’re just proud of the kids. They got what they deserved. They worked so hard to get to this point. They’ve been extremely focused all season and have had great leadership.
“It definitely hasn’t soaked in. It’s great for the community and it’s great for everyone involved.”
SCORING BY QUARTERS
Murray 00 00 00 00- 00
Fremont-Mills 34 27 14 06-81
FM - Nate Meier, 39 run (AJ Scarborough run).
FM – Safety (Cody Scroggle tackled in end zone).
FM – Meier, 32 run (Meier run).
FM – Nick Williams, 15 pass from Scarborough (Scarborough run).
FM – Scarborough, 59 run (Meier run).
FM – Scarborough, 77 interception return (run failed).
FM – Meier, 54 run (Clayton Wilson kick).
FM – Williams, 13 pass from Scarborough (Wilson kick).
FM – Meier, 8 run (Wilson kick).
FM – Meier, 4 run (Wilson kick).
FM – Logan Wood, 26 interception return (Wilson kick).
FM – Wood, 74 interception return (kick blocked).