Experience, confidence strong as Fieldcrest holds football camp

Knights looking to take another step forward after 4-5 record in 2023

Members of the Fieldcrest football team work on drills on Monday, July 8, 2024 at Fieldcrest High School.

Two years ago, Nick Meyer took over a Fieldcrest football program coming off a winless season after reaching the playoffs five of the previous six full seasons.

That first campaign for Meyer saw the then youthful Knights struggle, but last season the team finished 4-5 and a play or two away from reaching the postseason again.

“I really think my first year as head coach was actually a fortunate situation, and that is hard to say when you go 1-8, but beyond that was the fact that we had, and continue to have, really good kids that understood the culture, especially that senior group,” Meyer said during Fieldcrest’s camp Monday in Minonk. “We may have not been winning games, but the kids were doing all the right things, showing up on time, giving 100% and being great teammates no matter the situation. Then last year that senior class, [which] was really only playing its second full season because of the pandemic, [kept] things going and pushed the bar back higher.”

Meyer said winning a couple of close games showed the team’s fight, but coming so close to a Week 10 game has this year’s group pushing to make that a reality this fall.

“A couple of our wins last season were ones where we had to come back,” Meyer said. “Not that you want to have to play from behind, but it’s something that’s going to happen and it’s something that might not have happen the previous season. We started to see the confidence build throughout the program that we can get back to being a program that can be a very successful one. We came up 3 yards short and an extra point away from making the playoffs, and that’s been a motivator for this year’s group.

“They are hungry.”

Members of the Fieldcrest football team sprint toward the goal line whle working on drills on Monday, July 8, 2024 at Fieldcrest High School.

Meyer’s first team two years ago had a roster filled with freshmen and sophomores, but now those players have experience under their belts.

“I think this season we have a ton of guys that played a lot of varsity snaps as freshmen and sophomores, so more experience. I also think the seniors this year saw the leadership of the guys before them and have just taken the reins and are pushing to push the bar even higher this fall.

Along with experience, Meyer says a switch in offensive philosophy made a difference and feels that will continue for the next few years.

“Fieldcrest has been a spread team every year since 2006 – it has been Knights football – but last year we realized the personnel we had and are going to have the next few years with some big kids up front, we had to make adjustments,” Meyer said. “We have shifted to a more traditional tight end, fullback, I-formation set. We were just honest with the kids and explained as coaches we felt this gave us the best chances to win games with what we had. I thought the kids really understood and bought in to the fact that the change fit with our strengths.”

Meyer says the summer workouts for his program are more about things outside the X’s and O’s.

“For me, summer workouts are about keeping the kids excited about the game of football,” Meyer said. “Sure, we talk about and work on some offense and defensive schemes, but it’s also a little conditioning, a little drilling, and mostly bonding with each other. This group has a close bond already, many of them have went through ups and downs the last two seasons, but I think they have the mindset of working together to put together a really good season. They are going to fight for each other.

“I’m excited to see what they can do.”

Fieldcrest opens the regular season Aug. 30 at home against Meridian.

Members of the Fieldcrest football team break out in a huddle on Monday, July 8, 2024 at Fieldcrest High School.