DAYTON — Tyson Moser admitted he was worried about his team’s first-round game against North Fremont.
Turns out, West Side’s head coach had nothing to worry about.
Trevor Montes rushed for two touchdowns and passed for another as the Pirates routed the Huskies 36-8 in the first round of the 2A State Football Tournament on Thursday night at Lyle S. Henderson Field.
“I’m really proud of our kids,” Moser said. “I was worried all week about this North Fremont team. They’re a lot better than their record indicates and I was a little worried how we would prepare for a team that was 2-6, but we knew they would be tough.
“So, I’m proud of the kids for coming out and playing tough football.”
Especially on the defensive side of the ball.
West Side (7-2), winners of seven straight, limited North Fremont (2-7) to just 64 yards of total offense — the majority of that came in the fourth quarter after the Pirates had pulled their starters.
“We were very well prepared,” West Side wide receiver/defensive back Tate Fuller said. “I’ll give the coaches credit for that. They were always yelling and calling out the formation, but there’s still room for improvement. That’s what we’re going to do this week. You can always improve.”
The Pirates absolutely stymied the Huskies in the first half, holding North Fremont to negative 18 yards on 16 plays.
“The defense is always prepared because we have great coaches,” said Montes, who plays quarterback and defensive back for West Side. “Our coaches tell us where we need to go and where we need to be every play.”
Devon Villa and Hayden Johnson each recovered a fumble in the second half for the Pirates, who cashed in on the turnovers with 14 points.
The option-attack Huskies, who had scored a combined 90 points in their previous two outings, were limited to 59 yards rushing on 38 carries — an average of 1.5 yards per carry.
“Our defense did a really good job shutting that option down,” Moser said. “Credit goes to our defensive coaches and of course those defensive players that executed what they were told to do.”
West Side tallied 311 yards of total offense, including 212 on the ground.
Jon O’Brien led the ground attack with 99 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries. Montes added 42 yards on seven carries, scoring on TD runs of 4 and 15 yards, respectively.
“Our offense, we struggled a little bit, but we improved from last week,” said Montes, who was quick to credit West Side’s scout team for helping the Pirates during practice. “We moved the ball up and down on (North Fremont). We had some big plays, we opened it up and our line did a great job again this week like they always do.”
Montes did not complete a pass in the Pirates’ 20-0 victory over Soda Springs on Oct. 18.
But against the Huskies, he was 8 of 11 for 99 yards and the one TD. Dylan Turnbow led West Side with 47 yards receiving on two receptions.
“The passing game actually might’ve saved us,” Moser said. “They were really loading the box on us and sometimes had a seven-man (defensive) front and we weren’t really used to that.
“Trevor did a really good job on the passing game tonight and they may not have been expecting that. The last couple of games we haven’t thrown the ball a whole lot, so that might have saved us tonight.”
If there was one play that summed up the day for West Side, it occurred about midway through the second quarter when Fuller hauled in a 15-yard touchdown pass from Montes.
It was a pass that North Fremont safety Shane Hill should have intercepted in the end zone. Instead, it went right through his hands and Fuller eventually hauled it in while on his back, giving the Pirates a 20-0 lead with 6:20 remaining until halftime.
“I wish we wouldn’t have to score like that,” Fuller admitted. “I guess you can call it a little bit of luck.”
Due to the wet conditions — it snowed off and on throughout the game — Fuller slipped in the end zone. The ball went through Hill’s hands and, as he stumbled backward over Fuller and fell onto the grass himself, the ball pinballed between the two players.
Eventually, it appeared as if Hill inadvertently kicked the ball toward Fuller, who finally secured it for the wild touchdown.
“I hate scoring like that,” Moser said. “It’s lucky and I almost wanted to go out there and ask them if they’d just do a replay and let us do it again.
“I hate to score like that, but when you get in the playoffs, sometimes the ball has got to bounce your way and you’ve got to be a little bit lucky, as well as be good. So, maybe that’s a sign of things to come.”