Stanton rallied to cut the Fremont-Mills lead to within two scores to end the third quarter but a big fourth quarter secured the Knights a 56-20 victory on homecoming in Stanton Friday.
Fremont-Mills (4-1) was able to put the Vikings away with three fourth -quarter touchdowns, two coming from Knight running back Spencer Phillips, who ran for 186 yards and scored four touchdowns on the night.
“Phillips, he’s a special kid,” said Stanton Football Coach Jeff Grebin. “They’ve got to be awfully excited. They’ve got no seniors on the team, every single one of those guys is coming back. It’s going to be a tough challenge again next year, but Phillips, we don’t have anybody like that to tackle in practice. We’ve got young kids on the field; he’s a hard guy to bring down.”
Phillips scored again on a 21-yard catch with 7:03 left in the fourth before Chris Goodman added an eight-yard run to complete the Knights’ scoring.
“That last drive of the game, we were basically trying to run out the clock,” said Fremont-Mills Football Coach Jeremy Christiansen. “We kept it simple, went I [formation], dive left, dive left. That put an exclamation point on the game.”
The Vikings actually led early in the game when Kyle Peterson scored on a 26-yard on fourth-and-inches for the early 8-0 lead for the two-point conversion. Peterson led the way for Stanton on offense, carrying the ball 25 times for 109 yards.
“The first half we started out great,” Grebin said. “We’ve had leads on good teams this year. We just need to work harder in practice on maintaining blocks.”
Fremont-Mills responded on the ensuing possession when Phillips scored his first touchdown on a 49-yard run. The Knights trailed 8-6 with 5:13 left.
“They controlled the first seven minutes of this football game,” Christiansen said about Stanton.
The Vikings once again sustained another long drive later in the frame, converting a couple of fourth downs, and aided by a roughing the kicker call on Fremont-Mills. However, a holding call on what would have been another first down kept Stanton from scoring.
Fremont-Mills scored once more before the end of the first quarter when Jason Rusten connected with Mackenzy Lang for a 34 yard touchdown. The Knights led 12-8 heading into the second quarter.
“Offensively, between Chris, Spencer and Mackenzy, I thought we ran hard and made plays when needed,” Christiansen said.
After a three-and-out by Stanton, Fremont-Mills moved the ball down field, but were stopped short of scoring in a goal line situation.
Backed up at their one-yard line, Stanton moved forward quick, setting up a 63-yard touchdown run by quarterback David Sorensen. Stanton missed the two-point try, but led 14-12 with 8:14 left in the half.
“We mixed up our play calling,” Grebin said. “We had them on their heels for a while, but it came down to the line of scrimmage.”
Fremont-Mills re-focused on the ensuing drive. Rusten threw his second touchdown pass of the game to Brandon Meston for 45 yards and the Knights converted the two-point conversion this time to take a 20-14 lead with 7:03 left.
“I think we just became a physical football team and we had to go to the air during that second quarter quite often, to exploit their pass coverage and make some plays,” Christiansen said.
After a three-and-out by Stanton, Fremont-Mills added to their lead thanks to a 29-yard touchdown run by Phillips. The lead was 28-14 with 2:31 until halftime. The drive was keyed by a fake punt run for a first down by Lang, the Knights’ punter.
“It’s a rugby style punt. If he sees it and you can guarantee he can get the first down, it was close,” Christiansen said. “It was definitely closer than we would have liked.”
Stanton moved the ball down field quickly, but turned the ball over on downs, giving Fremont-Mills one more chance late. After completions to both Meston and Broc Hansen, Lang caught his second touchdown pass, this one for 25-yards with 3.7 seconds left. Fremont-Mills converted the two-point play and entered halftime with a 36-14 lead.
“We came out in the first half, stuck it in the end zone, stopped them, stuck it in the end zone again. We find ways to score early and then we wear down,” Grebin said.
Sorensen finished the game with 59 yards on 7-for-14 passing. On the ground, Sorensen had 76 yards on nine carries.
For Fremont-Mills, Rusten had his best throwing night of the season, completing 9-for-15 with 218 yards passing. Meston hauled in four catches for 105 yards.
Fremont-Mills faces Sidney this Friday in a key District 8 match up. Kick off is 7 p.m.