Petaluma High School beat Montgomery of Santa Rosa to open its football season for the second year in a row, and just like last time, Petaluma’s Garrett Freitas stole the show.
He did so in a completely different way, however.
He intercepted Montgomery twice in the end zone and provided the game’s turning point — a 61-yard touchdown run in the third quarter of Petaluma’s 21-7 win.
Freitas scored two touchdowns on kick returns a season ago to lift his team to a 55-42 win over the Vikings. He said this year’s triumph had its own feel.
“Very different. I feel like it was a lot more intense, emotions were a little higher. It felt hard-hitting. They were after us for sure, they wanted last year’s game back,” Freitas said.
During the first half of play, it appeared Montgomery would get its revenge. But the Trojans were able to regroup, in large part because of Freitas’ interception in the end zone late in the second quarter. The play left Petaluma down just seven points, and halftime adjustments proved valuable.
“The whole first half, they were blitzing the “A” gaps,” Freitas said. “After we picked that up at halftime, we made the adjustment and [the] outside was wide open,” Freitas said.
Freitas’ 61-yard jaunt came on a 3rd-and-1 toss play, and it electrified the Trojan sideline.
“That got us pumped up, that was amazing,” lineman Nick Siembieda said. “The o-line saw that and we were like ‘I think we can do this the whole game.’”
Petaluma scored two more times — both on run plays in goal-to-go situations. Freitas closed the door on Montgomery’s last scoring chance with another interception in the fourth quarter.
“I went up to press [the wide receiver], he said some words to me, like, ‘you don’t want to do this’ so I backed up off of him. One of the kids on the [Montgomery] sideline yelled, ‘go up and get it,’” said Freitas, who actually did go up and get it. His back landed in the end zone for a touchback, all but ending the Vikings’ hopes.
Freitas appears improved on defense, but last season’s Sonoma County League Back of the Year’s scintillating running style acts as a catalyst for his team.
“Great feeling. So much energy,” Freitas said of his score. “I love it, not because of myself, but it gets the whole team going. Everyone picks up the momentum from that and it just turns the game around.”
Freitas provided the lift his team needed in their season opener once again. The only difference was how he did it. The 2018 campaign is just underway, and Trojan fans must be waiting to see what he does next.