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Fremont Ross Class of 1985

Fremont Ross Class of 1985
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Ross gets 600th win

For the 600th time in Fremont Ross history, the Little Giants have won on the gridiron.

And to secure the milestone 19-13 on-field victory, the Ross defense came to play Friday night at Charles Buckenmeyer Stadium in Napoleon.

Ross safety Brett Mierke's interception of Napoleon quarterback Andrew Keller redeemed Little Giants running back James Spencer, whose fumble gave the Wildcats one last shot at midfield with 2:36 remaining.

"I read the defense and I saw (Keller) looking right at me," Mierke said. "I was excited because I wanted that pick to put this game away."

Defensive tackle Boston Beckley agreed.

"I knew that we had to step it up because the last two games we haven't been playing so good," Beckley said. "I have to give the credit to Mierke on that defensive last play, but Tyler (Hull) and I put the pressure on the throw."

Mierke expressed elation for helping the Little Giants capture the milestone victory as his teammates chanted his name inside the locker room.

"Oh my God, this feels great," Mierke said. "I'm going to be remembered forever. I'm just excited we won, we still have a shot at the playoffs and we're ready to go."

The Ross defense held Napoleon in check in key situations. The Wildcats were 1-of-4 inside the red zone Friday night.

The Little Giants clung to a 19-7 lead in the fourth quarter before Napoleon strung together a 9-play, 73-yard drive that ended with Keller's 13-yard touchdown run with 6:32 left.

It was the only time the Wildcats scored from inside the red zone. But Clint Detmer's extra point attempt failed as Ross led 19-13.

When the Little Giants got the ball back, they tried to run time off the clock. But Spencer, who carried the ball 21 times for 111 yards and scored on a 9-yard second-quarter TD run, fumbled a high pitch from quarterback Cody Foos at the Ross 49-yard line.

The Ross defense had to answer the call one more time.

"I'm really proud of these kids because our defense was on the field an awful lot tonight," Little Giants coach Derek Kidwell said. "Hats off to my dad (Ross defensive coordinator Dick Kickwell) and the defensive coaching staff because I think they came up with a great game plan."

The Wildcats ran 65 offensive plays against the Little Giants, who had 46 of their own. Napoleon won the battle of total yards 319-241.

Kidwell pointed to a key tackle made by Ross defensive back Greg Brown on Napoleon's last drive that kept Wildcats running back Jason Brown in bounds as the time ticked off the clock before Mierke's interception.

"We had so many opportunities in that game and we didn't capitalize on a lot of them. Part of that was because of Fremont's team speed and another part was breakdowns in penalties against us," Wildcats coach Tory Strock said. "It was a great battle because I thought our defense did a great job of containing their athletes."

Napoleon opened the game with a 15-play drive that wiped 6 1/2 minutes off the clock, but was stalled by a holding penalty near midfield. Ross got the ball at its own 19 after forcing the Wildcats to punt.

The Little Giants took a 7-0 lead with 11:47 left in the first half, when Foos hooked up with Terence Davis on a 24-yard TD pass during which the Ross wideout burned defensive back Nick Rettig in single-coverage in a race to the end zone.

When Beckley recovered Keller's fumble 15 seconds later, the Ross offense reached the end zone in 26 yards in five plays on the legs of Spencer.

After Greg Brown ran back the second-half kickoff 41 yards, Foos (6-of-12, 104 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT) was picked off on the Little Giants' first play from scrimmage after the ball went in-and-out of the hands of Davis.

Brandon Hummer, who was got the majority of the Napoleon carries after Jason Brown walked off the field in the second quarter after sustaining an injury, used his legs to cap a 9-play, 67-yard drive that ended with Hummer's 3-yard TD run as 7:11 remained in the third quarter.

Detmer's PAT trimmed the Ross lead to 13-7.

But the Ross wideout wanted to atone for the drop. As soon as Ross got the ball back, Foos threw a 53-yard TD strike to Davis, who beat the Napoleon defense to the end zone on a post pattern over the middle.

"It was pretty big to catch that first touchdown pass because it gave us a lead," Davis said. "But I was kind of down after I should have caught that other pass. It went through my hands. I had to redeem myself for that."