ESSEX - Score early and score often.
That’s precisely what Fremont-Mills did as they defeated Essex/South Page Friday night 55-12 in 8-man District 8 football action.
The Knights scored 34 points in the first half, 27 of which came in the first quarter of play, as they won their third game in a row.
“It was a very physical game, but in the first half I thought we controlled the tempo and controlled all aspects of the game,” Fremont-Mills Head Coach Jeremy Christiansen said.
Spencer Phillips scored the first of his three rushing touchdowns on the Knights opening drive. Phillips ran it 65 yards on the first play of the drive. Fremont-Mills led 6-0 after the missed extra point with 10 minutes left in the first quarter.
Following an ESP three and out, Fremont-Mills moved the ball down field and quarterback Jason Rusten had his first touchdown pass of the game when he connected with Brandon Meston for 15 yards. The Knights then led 13-0.
Phillips had his second touchdown just two offensive drives later when he outran the ESP defense on his way to a 51-yard touchdown. Fremont-Mills led 20-0 with 2:45 left in the quarter.
“We definitely blocked well upfront,” Christiansen said. “We figured Essex would be bringing the house most every time. So if we can get past that first round of defense then we had a chance to take it to the house.”
The Knights defense once again forced another three and out, thanks to a holding penalty on the opening play of the ESP drive.
This time, it was quarterback Jason Rusten’s turn to score as he ran 59-yards for the touchdown. Fremont-Mills’ lead was 27-0 with a minute left in the first quarter.
The final score of the half occurred with 7:42 left in the second as Tristan Megloza caught a 13-yard touchdown pass from Rusten.
Not content with the possibility of a running clock for the second half, E/SP drove down the field 43 yards on their opening drive as quarterback Ian Isaacson completed a 17-yard touchdown pass to Zach Dailey. ESP trailed 34-6 with 5:37 left in the third.
“They made a few plays on us, a few mental mistakes on defense,” Christiansen said.
A scary moment occurred on the ensuing Fremont-Mills drive as Rusten was injured following a sack. Rusten hurt his neck and would be okay, but he sat out the rest of the game as Sam Phillips took over at quarterback.
“He said he was a little stiff,” Christiansen said about Rusten. “Anytime a kid gets hurt like that, you see how they respond and see what happens. I thought we responded very well.”
Quarterback Sam Phillips drove the team down the field as Spencer Phillips scored his third and final touchdown on a 46-yard run.
“He responded well coming straight off the bench and not having any reps during that first half,” Christiansen said about Phillips. “He made some nice plays for us.”
The Knights went for the jugular and converted the two-point play, leading 42-6 and starting the mercy rule clock. Phillips had a big game rushing as he carried the ball 17 times for 256 yards.
Fremont-Mills got the ball back almost immediately as Chris Goodman picked off an Isaacson pass. From there, Phillips connected with Broc Hansen for a 36-yard touchdown pass. The Knights lead was 48-6 heading into the fourth quarter. Phillips was 3-for-3 for 50 yards. Rusten finished the game 6-for-10 for 89 yards.
ESP scored once more in the game when Tyler Dalley had a four-yard run for a touchdown. ESP failed to convert the two-point play, which kept the running clock going.
Fremont-Mills scored once more when Parker Powers picked off Isaacson’s pass and returned it 32 yards for a touchdown. The score came with 11 seconds left in the game.
The Knights will be back on the road this Friday night when they face Stanton. The action kicks off at Stanton High School at 7 p.m.
“To get ready for a team like Stanton, they’re going to be coached very well; they’re going to be physical,” Christiansen said. “You have to be ready to go.”