Led by running back Jordan Sanford’s four touchdowns, the Fremont Tigers took down the Tech Bulldogs, 26-7, in opening weekend Oakland Athletic League (OAL) football action this past Saturday at Curt Flood Field.
On a day that necessitated only shorts and T-shirts, a medium-sized crowd showed up to the stadium in East Oakland to watch the game. Throughout the match, the vocal fans bombarded the grass field with repeated chants of FRE-mont, to mimic The Rolling Stones’ song “I’m Free.”
With the highly contested league game locked up in a scoreless tie headed into the third quarter, Sanford finally helped his team break the stalemate with a long run that set up his eventual 3-yard jaunt a little more than 32 minutes into the game. Subsequent touchdown runs of 11, 2 and a whopping 70 yards gave the Fremont senior four for the afternoon, to go along with 211 rushing yards. That put the game out of reach, with just over 3 minutes left to play in the fourth quarter, 26-0.
Tech junior quarterback Greg Pierson (nine completions on 24 attempts, for 156 yards) made an admirable effort by coming back into the game following a big sack, during the previous drive, which had sidelined him with an injury. Then he pitched a 63-yard scoring strike to senior wide receiver Daron Duong (four catches for 80 yards). But it was too little, too late. The Bulldogs were done in by missed chances, an ineffective running game (-27 yards) and two turnovers.
“We’re just young and have to keep playing,” said Tech associate head coach Virdell Larkins after the game. “We had plenty of opportunities, we just didn’t capitalize on them, and they made plays when they had to. We’ve got to get back to work on Monday.”
The game was the highly-anticipated rematch of last year’s Silver Bowl, the conference’s playoff title game. Fremont won that game by a score of 18-6 after defeating the Bulldogs, 28-7, in last season’s regular season meeting.
Oakland Tech travels to Skyline High School for next week’s OAL contest against the Olympians, while Fremont heads to McClymonds to battle the undefeated Warriors, also on Saturday, Oct. 23rd.