What do you do when your team is on the brink of being eliminated from playoff contention and facing a team with just one loss on its resume?
If you're Fremd Vikings coach Lou Sponsel, you implement an entirely new offense.
Running the Wildcat offense for nearly the entire game Friday night, Fremd ran roughshod over Hoffman Estates on the road. The 31-9 triumph moved them to 4-4 on the year.
"That was the first time all year we've showed it (Wildcat) in a game," said Sponsel. "You just have to have an answer…it's this time of year where sometimes you've got to have a couple things in your back pocket that you can go to when other things are misfiring."
After struggling to get anything going on offense in the first quarter, the Vikings made the move to the Wildcat with senior running back Nick Rattin taking the direct snaps from the quarterback position.
The move payed dividends almost immediately.
Trailing 3-0 four minutes into the second quarter, the Vikings mounted a drive to the Hawks 3-yard line, when Will Ferry galloped in for the score to make it 7-3.
Fremd quickly got the ball back thanks to back-to-back sacks by Devin Dinham with 6:00 to play until intermission.
Rattin then connected on a 44-yard bomb to Jack Hipchen — a play that eventually led to an 8-yard strike to Ferry at the 2:10 mark for a 14-3 edge.
"We had a great week of practice, especially last night that led to this win tonight," said Rattin.
The Vikings tacked on a 31-yard field goal by Anthony Piasecki with just 24 seconds left in the half to extend the lead to 17-3.
When play resumed, Fremd took the opening drive of the third quarter for yet another score. This time with Rattin calling his own number from 10 yards out. Dinham then caught the 2-point conversion and the Vikings lead swelled to 25-3 at 6:16 of the stanza.
"They were in a do-or-die situation out there tonight and they played like it," said Hawks head coach Tim Heyse. "They won the battle on both sides of the ball tonight and are much better than their record indicates."
Hoffman attempted to mount a comeback when Hawks quarterback Kyle Krogstad hooked up with Malik Whitehead on a 52-yard touchdown that cut into the Vikings lead at 25-9 late in the quarter.
But there was just no answer for a determined squad with its back against the wall.
Just 16 seconds into the fourth quarter, Rattin closed out the scoring when he raced into the end zone for his second score of the half. The 15-yard TD run put Fremd up 31-9.
It was quite the response for a team that had lost one week prior to Conant with just three seconds left in regulation, and was needing to win its last two games to become playoff eligible.
"We talked to the kids and last week we broke," said Sponsel. "And we said are we going to be defined as a team that breaks? Or are we going to be defined as a team that can bounce back? Great teams and great organizations find they find a way to return to normal fast … faster than anyone else and that's what we did."