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Friday, November 27, 2009

Fremont High takes Silver Bowl title over Oakland Tech

Fremont High's Sione Tupouata proved in Friday's Silver Bowl that he was a worthy recipient of the Oakland Athletic League's Most Valuable Player award.

The 6-foot-4, 250-pound Tupouata ran for a career-high 296 yards and two touchdowns and spearheaded a defensive effort that produced an 18-6 win over Oakland Tech at Laney College to give the Tigers their first Silver Bowl title in school history.

"I was having a great time," said Tupouata, a senior running back/defensive end. "The best time of my life."

Fremont (5-7) completes two transformations in winning the Oakland Section title, rebounding from an 0-6 start to this season and also finishing what it started last year, when it reached the Silver Bowl after a 1-9 season in 2007.

"When we took over last year under (former coach) Eugene Denard, the players believed in us," said Tigers' first-year coach Isamu Falevai, the offensive coordinator and assistant head coach on last year's Silver Bowl runner-up team. "Regardless of the 0-6 start, the players always believed in (the coaches)."

The winless start was helped out by Fremont missing several key players to ineligibility and didn't sway the Tigers' confidence.

"We always knew that once our players came back, we'd start clicking," Tupouata said.

"(The title) means a lot," senior Ivan Nisa said. "We worked hard for it, too. Nobody believed in us after the 0-6 start, but we came out here and let it hang."

Fremont jumped on Tech (9-3) early, taking the opening kickoff and going 71 yards in 10 plays before Tupouata scored from 10 yards out.

After forcing a Bulldogs punt, Tupouata went 80 yards on the first play of the ensuing drive for another touchdown and a 12-0 lead.

Tech reached Fremont's 8-yard line on its next drive after a 47-yard run by Ryan Murphy, but a touchdown-saving tackle by Timothy Hackett proved large, as the Bulldogs lost 15 yards on their next three plays and didn't score.

But Tech caught a break midway through the second quarter when Tupouata fumbled and Edgar Gillies Jr. returned it 41 yards for a score to make it 12-6.

It stayed that way until the fourth, when a 53-yard run by Tupouata set up Nisa's 5-yard scoring burst for a 18-6 lead with 7:34 left.

The Bulldogs marched to the Tigers' 3 on their next possession, but a fumble by Murphy was recovered by Fremont's Mykolay McGowan. Tech got the ball once more, but an interception by Joe Coleman on the game's final play ended it.

"We were out-coached and outplayed," Tech coach Delton Edwards said. "It seemed like we couldn't get anything going. When we did, we'd get a flag or fumble."

Murphy, the OAL rushing champion, paced Tech with 199 yards on 26 carries and finishes the season with 1,983 yards.

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