Crestwood football team enjoys solid 2017 season
Wed, 11/01/2017 - 10:50am admin
CRESCO - Even though the 2017 Crestwood varsity football team fell just short of making the playoffs, that does not diminish how well the Cadets played as a group this fall, which saw the team post a 5-4 overall mark (5-2 district, third place).
The 2017 season had a rough start for the Cadets as they lost their two non-district games to Waverly-SR (0-55) and Decorah (6-14). However, Crestwood bounced back with two straight district wins over Hampton-Dumont (35-28) and Clarion-Goldfield-Dows (21-6).
Traveling to Osage on Sept. 22, the Cadets took a 14-0 lead in the second quarter over the Green Devils before Osage rallied in the second half for a 21-20 win. Crestwood rebounded with a 13-7 win over New Hampton the following week. On Oct. 6, the Cadets rallied to beat Garner-HV, 12-9, on a last-second touchdown pass from Jon Henry to Clayton Ollendieck.
On Oct. 13, the No. 9 Clear Lake Lions downed the Cadets, 21-0. Crestwood concluded the regular season on Oct. 20 with a 26-20 win over Forest City. New Hampton claimed the district title at 6-1 while Clear Lake finished second. The Cadets took third at 5-2 in the league.
Crestwood Head Coach Chris Lentz said there were many positives to take away from the season.
“One of the biggest positives about the season is that we’re a pretty young team,” Lentz said. “The young kids got their feet put to the fire right away, and they grew up a lot as football players. Our guys kept improving every week and that’s all we can ask for from them. Our guys never give up, they play to the last whistle and they play hard.
“At times during the year, our defense played like gangbusters and other times we didn’t. You can say the same about our offense. We will keep refining (the game plan) and work on the little things. Football always comes down to a few mishaps here and there.
“Our guys do a good job of adapting. With whatever kind of team we have, we adapt to what we need to do (to be successful). We gave them some different defenses to learn, and our guys picked up on them really quick. I think we’ve figured out how to defend the spread (offense) teams that we’ve played. We’ll continue to work on our speed and our reaction time,” Lentz said.
The coach stressed that it is important for his players to compete in a variety of sports during the football off-season.
“I always like to see our kids out for other sports to keep their competitive edge up,” Lentz said. “I want to see the guys work on their speed, strength and conditioning. I want our guys to do what they can to make themselves better athletes. If the kids aren’t playing other sports (during the off-season), I’d like to see them participate in our after school weight-lifting program with Coach Nate Dietzenbach and myself.”
Lentz said the Cadets gave a strong effort in every game, but he noted the one-point loss to Osage hurt the team’s chances of securing a playoff berth.
“If we wouldn’t have lost to Osage, we would have been 6-1 in the district and maybe we could have received an at-large bid (to the playoffs),” Lentz said. “But that’s why you’ve got to play all the games (well). Also, we can’t afford to give up leads during games. With the district teams changing next year and maybe changing the playoff format, I don’t know what will happen.
“Our district was pretty even overall, especially with the top three teams (New Hampton, Clear Lake and Crestwood). On any given Friday, anyone can get beat. Overall, our guys did a good job of stepping up and getting after it. We were in it (the district race) until the last whistle, which is all you can ask for,” Lentz said.
The coach gave kudos to the seniors for doing a good job of leading the team.
“A lot of our seniors had a lot of experience going into the season,” Lentz said. “They did a good job of working with our underclassmen. You’ve got to have good, strong leadership from the upperclassmen to hold the younger guys together when things aren’t going the right way, and we had that. I’m really proud of all the seniors, and they work hard.
“With our guys coming back, we’ll have a good mix of players. I told some guys that they might have to switch positions (next season) because we may need more linemen, but we don’t know for sure yet.
“It was good to see our ninth grade team have success (finishing 7-1), but they need to realize that everyone is going to keep getting better. If you don’t work hard, your opponent will out-work you. We don’t want anyone resting on their laurels,” Lentz said.