No. 1 Fieldcrest wins for seventh time

    In looking at the stats, it’s obvious why Fieldcrest rolled over Ridgeview in their Heart of Illinois Conference crossover contest Friday night on the Lexington Green. The top-ranked Knights outgained the Mustangs 456 to minus-4. That’s why the visitors won 43-0.
    But the bigger factor was how Fieldcrest, ranked No. 1 in the latest Class 2A poll, was able to achieve that success. And as any coach will tell you, it starts up front.
    “That’s been our calling card all year — our strength has been up front with our offensive and defensive lines,” FHS head coach Derek Schneeman said. “You could tell right away we had an advantage — getting the running game going early and putting a lot of pressure on their quarterback.”
    The Knights were dominated from the beginning. Running back Kenton Castrejon ripped off runs of 17 and five yards on the game’s first two plays. Quarterback Matt Lorton hit Tisen Covington with a couple passes, and added a keeper for three yards on that first series.
    Castrejon had five runs in the opening drive, including a 10-yard touchdown withy 7:47 to go in the first quarter. Jacob Joyal added the conversion kick for a 7-0 lead.
    The nine-play drive was followed by a three-and-out for the FHS defense and the Knights then embarked on another scoring drive, this one taking nearly five minutes and covering 64 yards.
    Lorton hit Jaxon Cusac-McKay for a 24-yard gain and Castrejon added a 14-yard jaunt to help set up a Lorton-to-Covington 6-yard touchdown with 2:17 left in the frame.
    Joyal added the conversion, and then another 67 seconds later when Castrejon raced 37 yards for a touchdown on Fieldcrest’s first play after a fumbled snap by Ridgeview quarterback Jared Leake.
    This gave the Knights a 21-0 lead and the rout was on.
    Fieldcrest got the ball back 14 seconds into the second quarter after another three-and-out. The Knights closed out the opening frame by holding the Mustangs to minus-15 yards of offense with no positive gains.
    The Knights then embarked on an 11-play drive that covered 73 yards and lasted 4:43. The capper was Castrejon’s 15-yard scoring scamper off the left side. Joyal’s kick made it 28-0.
    Despite being down four touchdowns, RHS head coach Jake Kennedy wasn’t too disappointed with his defense, even at this point. He understood it was getting outmanned, but he liked the effort.
    “The score is going to show it was a blow out, but (three of their first four) touchdowns they had to go 8-10 plays to get a score,” Kennedy said. “We did a pretty good job of not allowing the big play. At the end of the half, we could have rolled over and got the running clock, but our guys fought — we got two interceptions and made them punt.”
    Ridgeview did give up another score as Cory Land ran a keeper 60 yards for a touchdown for the Knights, making it 35-0 after Joyal’s kick with 5:16 to go.
    But Fieldcrest could not get that last score to get the difference to 40 points. Carter Coffman picked off a pass at the Ridgeview 6 and Kaden Tolan came up with a pick after a pass to Keegan Robbins bounced off his chest and into his hands.
    Even tough Ridgeview gave a game effort, the Mustangs were simply overmatched. And when the Knights scored early, it appeared they weren’t going to allow any thought of an upset hang around long.
    “We wanted to try to build a lead early,” Schneeman said. “They have a lot of good athletes, they’re a team you can’t overlook. I thought we came I focused and prepared and ready to go.”
    And when Ridgeview had the ball, there was nothing the Mustangs could do. They managed gaining positive yardage on just six plays for the entire game.
    “Our defense was outstanding all night, I was really pleased with the way they played,” Schneeman said.
    Kennedy added, “Offensively, we had no answers for what they were doing up front. They were bigger and stronger and we just couldn’t get a push.”
    Castrejon led the Fieldcrest (7-0) ground attack with 163 yards on 18 carries, including three touchdowns. Land added 100 yards and a TD while Lorton threw for 123 yards and two TDs on 13 of 22 passing. Cusac-McKay had three catches for 48 yards and a TD.
    Fieldcrest finally got the running clock on the Cusac-McKay TD play, which covered 15 yards with 4:43 to go in the third period.
    The final score came the last play from scrimmage in the game when James Breese of Ridgeview (2-5) was stopped in the end zone for a safety by Ethan Stoeger for Fieldcrest.
    The HOIC Large title will be up for grabs next week when Fieldcrest takes on Eureka for Senior Night in Minonk. The Mustangs will host Fisher in Colfax.