OMAHA — Fremont High showcased its passing game on Friday night.
A week after rushing for 220 yards in their season opener, the Tigers put the ball in the air and threw for four touchdowns to defeat Omaha Benson 46-12.
“They brought a ton of guys up the line and were blitzing guys all over,” Fremont High coach Seth McClain said. “They made it really difficult to run the ball doing what they did. We had guys running open and Jack (Cooper) hit some big plays to (Conner) Richmond and (Dawson) Glause. Those guys did a nice job.
“I think they were daring us to pass. I don’t think they thought that we could pass and we were able to take advantage of that so that was good.”
Fremont (2-0) set the tone early in the game.
After a pair of Benson penalties, the Tigers started their first drive at the Bunnies’ 37-yard line. Three players later, Cooper completed a screen pass to Richmond and the junior wide receiver went 34 yards to score his first varsity touchdown. Jace Lamkins’ conversion made it 7-0 with 11:03 left in the first quarter.
Benson’s first play from scrimmage resulted in an interception by Fremont’s Massimo Lojing. The Tigers then put together a four-play scoring drive that was capped off by a touchdown pass from Cooper to Glause. The kick failed and Fremont led 13-0 with 8:28 remaining in the opening quarter.
“I thought we came out and had a great start,” McClain said. “I thought, ‘jeez,’ we’re going to score 60 points in the first half. Then it kind of fell apart a little bit and we lost some rhythm.”
Fremont’s next possession was short-lived as Benson recovered a fumbled handoff on the Tigers’ second play of the drive.
The Bunnies marched to the Tigers’ 1-yard line before being stopped for a 2-yard loss. Benson was then called for a block-in-the-back which put the ball back to the 29-yard line.
But the Bunnies then converted a 29-yard scoring pass from Anthony Ignowski to Tyreese Schieffer to pull within 13-6 with 1:53 remaining in the first quarter.
A strong kick return by Glause allowed FHS to start its next drive near midfield. A 44-yard pass from Cooper to Tyler Downey was followed by a 9-yard touchdown run by Mitchell Baxa. Lamkins’ conversion put Fremont up 20-6.
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Benson held onto the ball for nearly half of the second quarter before turning the ball over on downs. The Tigers offense quickly went to work and Cooper found Richmond for a 29-yard touchdown. Lamkins’ kick gave FHS a 27-6 lead with 7:13 left before halftime.
Fremont tacked on another score before intermission when Richmond hauled in a 24-yard TD pass – his third touchdown reception of the game – from Cooper. The Tigers led 34-6 at halftime.
McClain was pleased to see Richmond reap the rewards of his hard work in the offseason.
“Working with him this summer, I knew he was a special player,” McClain said of the junior Richmond. “He had a phenomenal summer. Every day we threw, every 7-on-7 session, he caught everything. He just had a fantastic summer. He practices every day like that. You knew it was bound to happen and it did. I’m just happy for him. He works his tail off.”
After a scoreless third quarter, Benson opened the final quarter with a touchdown run by Ignowski to put the score at 34-12.
Fremont’s next drive was only one play – a 31-yard touchdown run by Micah Moore. It was set up by a 55-yard kickoff return by Glause.
The Tigers’ Connor Stone halted Benson’s offense when he picked off his third pass of the season. That helped set up a run-oriented final drive for FHS, capped off by a 14-yard rushing TD by Jack Sorensen.
Friday’s nearly three-hour game was hindered by a number of penalties by both squads.
“You’ve got to come out and do the things right and play clean,” McClain said. “We didn’t do a very good job of that. We had way too many penalties and we were sloppy all around. Our tackling also was not very good, so we’ve got to put a lot more emphasis on tackling in practice.”
Next up for Fremont is the long road trip to North Platte. The Bulldogs, 0-2, were defeated by Columbus 40-14 on Friday.
“I know they want a piece of us because we beat them last year,” McClain said. “It will be interesting. We’ll see how we respond to that type of atmosphere that far away from home.”