MINONK, Ill. — Derek Schneeman remembers the last time he took Fieldcrest High School to the state semifinals.
It was six years ago. He’s hoping for a better result Saturday.
“We had an opportunity to beat a good team in Eastland-Pearl City and we didn’t get it done,” said Schneeman. “It was my first year. There’s a lot I would change if I could go back.”
Fieldcrest lost that 2014 state semifinal to eventual state champion Eastland-Pearl City, 46-33.
The Knights enter this week’s class 2A semifinal game at Sterling Newman with an unbeaten record, fresh off a second win over a number-1 ranked team this season. It’s been a special season at Fieldcrest.
“It’s definitely unforgettable,” said junior quarterback Cory Land. “I will remember this later in life, this will be something that always sticks in my head.”
The Knights beat Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley when the Falcons were number one during the regular season. And beat top-seed Clifton Central in the class 2A quarterfinals last week.
“It means a lot, a lot to our community.,” said junior wide receiver Jaxon Cusac-McKay. “They come out every week and support us. We’re paying them back, I guess.”
No matter what happens Saturday, this will arguably be Schneeman’s most memorable football season ever. Not just because it is the year his team moved into the number one spot in the state rankings for the first time or because the Knights are 12-0 heading into a state Final Four game.
But because three days before the season started, he became a first time father.
Derek Schneeman/Fieldcrest coach: “It puts a whole new perspective on life. Having a son changes everything,” Scheeman said.
His wife Sarah gave birth to their son Jack on the Tuesday before the seaosn kicked off.
“It’s been a heck of a ride. I can’t wait to tell my son about it when he is able to understand,” Schneeman said. “It’s been a lot of fun.”
Scheeman and the Knights hope the storybook season continues all the way to a state championship.