Plenty of penalties and teeming with turnovers
Story and photos by Lola Harmon-Ramsey
Fremont 6 – Ludington 20
The first game of the regular football season saw the Fremont Packers hosting the Ludington Orioles. With Fremont’s new track complex finally finished and sparkling in the 84 degree sun-shine, the young Pack took to the field with a lot of enthusiasm to finally play a “normal” game.
The Packers started the game kicking off to the Orioles who returned the ball to the 27. Ludington quarterback Trey Forfinski then began the affiliation with running back Stephen Weinert for a handoff and running game, which was their signature play of the evening. Fremont defensive back Garett Hanshue, linebacker Owen Vandenberg, and linebacker Michael Romero consistently stopped those handoffs with standout tackles.
Fremont was able to hold the Orioles off on downs and took over on Ludington’s 27 yard line, but after their turn of downs, the game remained at zero. After a few more back and forth possessions the Packers turned over the ball with a bobbled interception with Ludington’s Levi Laman ending up with the ball. With 32 seconds left in the first, another tackle by Fremont’s Romero ended the quarter with no score.
The Orioles started the second quarter with more hand-off running plays, which were met by a strong Fremont defensive line. Eventually, the running game by quarterback Forfinski produced a touchdown for Ludington. The Orioles tried a fake kick and tossed a pass for the 2 point conversion but were unsuccessful making the score 6-0 for the Orioles.
The Packers offense returned to the field and struggled with an incomplete pass, some penalties, and a personal foul, moving them back to the 46 yard line. A pass from Fremont’s Alex Gleason to Owen Vandenberg was incomplete and the next pass resulted in an interception by Ludington’s Nathan Gilchrist to give the ball back to the Orioles with 2:16 left in the half.
On Ludington’s first pass, Fremont’s Garett Hanshue intercepted the ball to give the possession back to the Packers before halftime, but after a series of plays, the Pack were out of downs and Ludington had the ball again. Finishing out the half was a dominating tackle from Fremont’s lineman, Noah Baker.
The halftime entertainment was supplied by the Fremont Marching Band, which, after the retirement of longtime band director, Mark Breza, is under the new direction of Hannah Smith. This year’s drum major is Rebecca Rodriguez who led the band and color guard with a series of songs from “Batman.”
The second half began with the Packers receiving the ball and quarterback, Alex Gleason moving the ball down the field with some running plays. Kyler DeKuiper then took over the quarterback position with a pass to Vandenberg, which picked up another Packer first down. Gleason and DeKuiper continued to change up the quarterback slot and the offensive line helped the effort by drawing a false start from the defense to get the Pack closer to another first down. A subsequent holding call on Fremont pushed the Pack back further. Penalties abounded for both teams, but a wayward pass from Fremont ended in another Oriole interception by Levi Laman. The Orioles had a few carries to move them to their five yard line but a fumble saw the Packers taking over at the very end of the third quarter.
Fremont started the fourth with an incomplete pass to bring out the Packer kicking team. An impressive kick from Fremont’s Michael Romero put the Orioles down the field but a trick play and shovel pass between Forfinski and Weinert ran the ball down the field closer to their end zone. Forfinski’s pass to Wilson Gunsell resulted in another touchdown for the Orioles and an extra point from Miles Wilson made the score 13-0 with 8:46 left in the game.
Fremont made quick work of the kick-off with a catch from Gleason who then ran for 45 yards. Kyler DeKuiper had a solid pass to Gabe Curtice for a touchdown. The extra kick was incomplete and the Packer’s trailed 6-13. Ludington continued their scoring streak with one more touchdown from Weinert with 4:22 left in the game.
Fremont was unable to convert any more downs and the game ended with a final of 6-20.
Fremont is a relatively young team with just four seniors on their roster. The passing game of sophomore Kyler DeKuiper will be exciting to see progress. The lineman on this roster are almost all sophomores but learning from the experience and grit of seniors, Colby Wright and Noah Baker. Running back, Justin Dirheimer and tight end, Michael Romero, both juniors, have the ability to make plays and score points.
The Packers will be home again next week when they host the Big Rapids Cardinals at 7:00pm.