MINONK – A game that probably should have been recorded in the win column was not when Fieldcrest last met Tremont. It was Sept. 7, 2018, when the Knights ventured southwest to Poorbaugh Field and was on the short end of a 16-13 score.
“That was probably the low point of our season,” recollected Fieldcrest coach Derek Schneeman. “We brought up how we felt after the game. We might have been overconfident. They just outplayed us.”
The Knights get a chance to right a wrong Friday evening when the Turks visit Veteran’s Park for the home opener with a 7 p.m. kick.
Tremont enters with a 2-0 record for the first time since ‘12. This past week against Fisher, senior wingback Nate Nguyen scored the go-ahead touchdown with 34 seconds left in a 14-7 victory. He rushed for 436 yards in ’18. Their top ground gainer is senior fullback Caiden Buster, who tallied 868 yards a season ago. The Turks operate out of the wing-T.
“Usually we play our base and move up a safety to the line of scrimmage,” said Schneeman of the defensive plan. “We try to get more guys in the box. Throwing the ball is not something they (Tremont) like to do so we’ll try to make them do that.”
They’ll face a Fieldcrest (2-0) unit that has allowed only one touchdown through two games and already triggered six turnovers.
“They’re playing so much faster. They’re not thinking that much out there,” Schneeman explained. “Our defensive coordinator, Mitch Neally, has done a phenomenal job getting them prepared along with Zach Meyer, Wayne Weber, Logan Weber, Mike Freeman, our whole coaching staff. It’s just a motivated group of kids. They’re going over film, reading their keys, reading over the scouting reports.”
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Senior Nathan Hately returns at quarterback along with senior Kendall Ehnle and junior Jake Barnewolt on the offensive line.
Tremont’s defense has also been impressive as they allowed just one score in a 31-7 week one decision over Deer Creek-Mackinaw. Barnewolt (line), Ehnle (line), Buster (linebacker) and Nguyen (safety) are among returning starters. They’ll vary between a 4-3 and 4-4 look.
One individual they’ll have to account for is Fieldcrest running back Kenton Castrejon, who has already rushed for 338 yards and five touchdowns. He had 30 attempts versus Tri-Valley.
“I do not necessarily have a set number in mind,” said Schneeman in terms of how many carries the senior will get. “He’s done a great job of putting himself in a position to be a featured back. Him and Jaxon Cusac-McKay, we need to get them the ball.”
Former Fieldcrest defensive coordinator Zach Zehr is in his third season as the Turks’ head coach with a record of 9-11. Overall, he is 43-21 in seven seasons on the prep level. Tremont went 5-4 in ’18, but did not have enough points to qualify for the playoffs. Last season’s win knotted up the all-time series at seven-all with the Knights.
Notes: According to Schneeman, Matt Lorton and Cory Land will again see snaps at quarterback against the Turks.