Box score

Led by quarterback Wyatt Bingham and standout receiver Kai Meza, Mountain Ridge had no problem dealing with Fremont, comfortably finding themselves on the winning side of a 37-20 season-opening victory.

It took a little while for Mountain Ridge’s offense to start clicking but once it did, there was nothing Fremont could do to hold them back.

Mountain Ridge got on the scoreboard first with six minutes left in the first quarter behind a short 1-yard run from running back Semisi Kinikini.

The lead didn’t last long, as Fremont immediately answered with a score of its own when quarterback Slade Parker connected with Cam Graves on a 35-yard score, tying the game up at 7.

Two touchdowns by Meza later in the half helped Mountain Ridge increase its lead even further as the Sentinels continued their dominance in front of the home crowd.

The most crucial point of the game came with mere seconds left before halftime.

With Mountain Ridge up 21-7 and the Fremont offense trying to cut into the lead with five seconds left before the break, Parker threw the ball toward the end zone hoping to find a Fremont wideout. Instead, Mountain Ridge was able to come up with the interception, forcing a Fremont turnover at the 1-yard line. 

Mountain Ridge had time for one last play and it made the best of the opportunity. Hoping to avoid being sacked and giving away a safety, Bingham fortunately found a wide-open Meza streaking down the sideline, ultimately resulting in an electric 99-yard score to close out the half.

“That sequence was huge. We get that interception down at the 1-yard line. Then Meza is fantastic and really special, one of the best players in the state. He ran a great route and the ball was on the money,” said Mountain Ridge head coach Mike Meifu. “That was one of those plays that you never forget, one that will last forever. To get all of that down with two seconds left to end the half was awesome.”

With Mountain Ridge now comfortably out in front 27-7, the second half was all about managing the game and allowing the backups to see some reps and get some experience closing out games.

“I think we started very fantastic. We had a bunch of sophomores out here that really came out here and just balled out. Our defense kind of struggled to start the game but then they settled in. We obviously got a lot of things to clean up, had some inexperience out there but I thought our guys played excellent,” added Meifu.