Blackout helps fuel Fremd shutout

 
 
  • Fremd's Mike Koeneman, center, snags a reception on a second quarter pass from  quarterback Mark Tolzien at Hale Hildebrandt Field in Palatine on Friday night. At left closing in is Prospect's Brendon Smith.

    Fremd's Mike Koeneman, center, snags a reception on a second quarter pass from quarterback Mark Tolzien at Hale Hildebrandt Field in Palatine on Friday night. At left closing in is Prospect's Brendon Smith. Patrick Kunzer | Staff Photographer

  • Fremd's Jason Ford gets his teammates revved up during a win over Prospect at Palatine on Friday night.

    Fremd's Jason Ford gets his teammates revved up during a win over Prospect at Palatine on Friday night. Patrick Kunzer | Staff Photographer

  • Fremd fans show their spirit during a 10-0 Vikings win over Prospect at Hale Hildebrandt Field in Palatine on Friday night.

    Fremd fans show their spirit during a 10-0 Vikings win over Prospect at Hale Hildebrandt Field in Palatine on Friday night. Patrick Kunzer | Staff Photographer

  • Fremd's #7 Anthony Farella is man handles by the Prospect defense in the first half such as on this tackle.

    Fremd's #7 Anthony Farella is man handles by the Prospect defense in the first half such as on this tackle. Patrick Kunzer | Staff Photographer

Published: 9/1/2007 12:33 AM

The raucous and sizable Fremd student section provided the blackout.

"They're crazy," said Fremd senior linebacker Nick Hillard of his classmates adorned in black clothes or covered in black body paint. "They keep us going."

And Fremd's defense kept going until it produced a shutout Friday night.

It gave everyone plenty to shout about as the Vikings prevailed 10-0 over Prospect in a tense battle between last year's Mid-Suburban League division champions.

"It's a pretty good feeling," said Fremd junior defensive end Ben Perna after his sack and 2 tackles for losses helped keep Prospect off the scoreboard for the first time since Week 5 of 2004.

"Even though we beat Lake Zurich they put up 20 against us. I felt we played well … and a shutout always feels great."

Especially in a game where it was absolutely necessary since Prospect's defense led by Eric Senft, Pat Mack and Tim Scanlan had also allowed nothing into the fourth quarter.

There was no margin for error. No room for a bust or a mental lapse.

And there were none from the Vikings as Perna, Hillard, linebacker Kevin Krieter, linebacker Jonathon Diegel, defensive end Bryan Opitz and defensive back Brian Hipchen led a unit that allowed only 165 yards.

The closest Prospect came to scoring was on the game's second play when Mack returned an interception to the Fremd 26. Three plays and 10 lost yards later, Opitz's sack forced a punt.

"They expected to do it," said Fremd coach Mike Donatucci after his 99th career victory with a program where defense has been the foundation.

Those expectations are what has the Vikings on their way to an MSL record 13th straight playoff berth.

"Everyone is hungry here and everyone wants to start," said Perna, who battled double-teams all night. "If you don't step up and make plays the guy behind you will get a chance and he'll make plays."

So when defensive end Jason Ford is unable to go with a sprained knee, senior Tim Dusek steps into the rotation and produces.

And when standouts graduate, guys such as Hillard and Krieter step in to keep the tradition rolling.

"I know the seniors every year want to be better than last year's seniors," said Perna, who will still have another year to wreak havoc on MSL offenses. "It drives us to get where we want to be."

Right now it's 2-0 against teams that finished second in the state and made the semifinals in Class 7A last year.

"We always have a good 'D' with 'Tucc,' " Hillard said. "He's always pushing us.

"We've got to live up to those expectations and I think we're doing that."

The proof was on the scoreboard Friday night.