NORMAL - It was a chilly night as the Fieldcrest football team battled against the Ridgeview Mustangs at Hancock Stadium on the campus of Illinois State University.
"Playing at ISU for our kids was a great experience. As soon as we got off the bus our kids were excited. They put their spikes on and came out here and spent the first 35 minutes just checking everything out and we owe coach (Craig) Meyer and our AD (Dan) Wieczorek for setting it up. And the kids just had a great time," said Fieldcrest head coach Nate Lorton.
The Knights did not disappoint their fans and their coaches as they beat the Mustangs 33-14.
"I was pleased with the way we played the first half and the fourth quarter, and its been our story the whole year and that story is not coming out and playing four quarters," said Lorton.
The Mustangs received the ball first and caught the ball at their own 23-yard line and took it to the 41 for good field position.
Unfortunately for the Mustang fans, Ridgeview couldn't do anything and went three and out.
On the Knights first possession they put together an 11-play, 62-yard scoring drive capped off by sophomore Matt Gerardo bursting through the middle for the first touchdown of the game. The Knights struck first and led 7-0.
The Mustangs second possession of the game played out just like the first one with them having to punt the ball away. They started to move the ball and picked up their first first down of the contest, but on the very next play senior defensive back Matt Stevenson buried QB Bryce Powell behind the line of scrimmage for a 10-yard loss.
"That even got me pumped and I am a quiet guy. I was pumped the team was pumped. That was a roar right there," said Stevenson, who ended the day with eight tackles and a sack.
The Knights ran out the first quarter and the score was 7-0 after one quarter of play.
Fieldcrest ran all over the field with ease against the rushing defense of the Mustangs. Gerardo would cross the goal line for a 14-0 lead.
Ridgeview once again struggled offensively and had to punt the ball away leaving the Knights one more opportunity to increase their lead.
They would do just that.
With just 24 ticks left on the clock, senior QB Zach Meyer pushed through on a fourth-and-goal from the 1-yard line. Zimmerman remained perfect and the half ended 21-0.
Meyer rushed 12 times for 85 yards to lead the Knights in rushing. He also went 3-3 in the passing department for 14 yards in the first half.
The total yards for the opening half were the Knights with 204 while the Mustangs managed only 27 yards offensively.
The third quarter belonged to the Mustangs. The Knights fumbled to their opposition on the opening drive and the Mustangs capitalized with a 7-yard rushing touchdown by Brandon Naas.
They ran in the 2-point conversion to cut the lead to 21-8.
"We laid down in the third quarter and came up flat and Ridgeview played real well in the third quarter," said Lorton.
Ridgeview stopped the Knights' next possession when they went for it on fourth-and-6, and ran out the third quarter sprinting down the field.
With just 15 seconds off the clock, Naas scored his second rushing touchdown.
The Knights responded with Gerardo's third touchdown of the game and put it out of reach with a 50-yard scamper by Meyer to the promised land.
"Gerardo was running hard so they were committing on him, and the line was making great holes so when I had a chance to keep it, I did," said Meyer.
Jeff Holman can be reached at 223-3200 ext 139 or at firstname.lastname@example.org