Petaluma High School football’s Garrett Freitas vaults Trojans past Montgomery, again

Freitas 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

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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.

Mark Davis a lot like Al, according to Raiders greats

Oakland Raiders owner Mark Davis is becoming more like his late father, Al Davis, according to two Raiders legends with close ties to the organization.

Cliff Branch, a four-time All-Pro for the Raiders, and Hall of Famer Willie Brown talked about Davis from National Sports Memorabilia in Petaluma, CA.

“He’s just like Al,” Branch said. “Smart. Brilliant. He knows the game, and he knows that he needs to be a little more hands-on. That’s going to be the next step for him.”

Mark Davis, who has controlled the Raiders since 2011, guided his franchise to a 12-4 record in 2016, but the Raiders fell apart this season after starting 2-0. Their record sits at 6-9 after losing to the Eagles on Christmas night.

Jack Del Rio may be coaching to save his job, according to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk.  Offensive coordinator Todd Downing will almost surely be fired, according to the same report.

“It’s been really hard on [Davis] because we were expecting to get back to the playoffs,” Branch said.

Branch does community and public relations for the Raiders and sometimes travels on the team plane. Brown, according to the Raiders’ website,  works for Oakland’s squad development department.

“He’s getting tougher, and meaner,” Brown said, with a chuckle, of Davis. “He’s having fun you know? It’s not as good when you’re losing of course, but he’ll get it all together.”

Davis has already made Oakland’s dreadful years that followed its Super Bowl XXXVII loss a distant memory.

“The era of bad drafts, and bad coaches,” Branch recalled. “[Mark Davis] brought in Jack, Jack has turned this thing around.”

The Raiders’ performance towards the end of the season, however, may be the deciding factor when it comes to Del Rio’s future in Oakland. Mark Davis, much like his late father, wants to win. And he’d rather not wait.

“His goal is to try and win a championship in Oakland before we go to Las Vegas,” said Branch, who earned three Super Bowl rings playing for Al Davis. “I have a lot of respect for Mark, and I think he’s doing a hell of a job.”