The Fremd Vikings came out strong with hope of ruining Palatine’s homecoming but fell short as a fourth quarter rally fizzled out and the Palatine earned a 24-17 victory.
After falling behind, the Pirates defense locked up the Vikings, shutting down the run game and intercepting Beutler once before and after halftime to set up their high-scoring offense.
“That defense flies,” said Beutler. “They’re a great team. If that’s the best team in the state our squad’s right there with them.”
Ethan Olles (13-24, 163 yards, 3 TDs) took advantage of the Fremd turnovers by tossing touchdowns to senior Alex Nawrot (5 catches, 34 yards) and junior Eric Theis (3 catches, 61 yards) to give his team a 17-10 halftime lead.
“Coming in we wanted to pass more than we ran,” said Olles. “I’ve been throwing to [Nawrot] since freshman year and Theis has become a solid starter for us which good.”
A Olles pass to junior running back Chaka Kelly went for 18 yards and a touchdown to give Palatine a two score lead with under five minutes to go in the third quarter. Kelly finished the game with 102 yard on 14 attempts on the ground.
“I knew it was going to be an emotional game,” said head coach Tyler Donnelly. “Coming in we knew they didn’t give up a lot of points so when we pushed it to two scores I felt like we would have a chance to extend that in the fourth.”
Fremd wasn’t ready to give up though, scoring on a 2-yard run from junior Jeff McGlade (55 yards, 16 attempts).
After an onside kick was recovered by the Pirates, a three and out gave the Vikings a first and ten from their own 42 with under two minutes left.
A 27-yard pass from Beutler to junior Matt Konopka gave Fremd hope. Junior defensive back Bradley Bauer extinguished that flame when he intercepted the ball with under a minute left and took it back 60 yards to the Viking 20.