FARMINGTON, Ill. (WMBD/WYZZ) — Senior Gage Renken has successfully changed with the time.
Or at least, changed with the season.
Last year he was a quarterback that passed Farmington into the playoffs. This year, the Farmers’ offense is different and Renken is being asked to run the football a bit more.
Yet once again he has the team in the playoffs.
“I’ve definitely had to run more. I kind of like that but I also like passing,” said Renken. “It doesn’t matter, whatever the team needs me to do, I’ll do.”
Renken led his team to a 40-30 fist round class 2A playoff win over El Paso-Gridley on Saturday.
“Last year, he threw the ball well, all the time. This year we are a different kind of team,” explained Farmington coach Toby Vallas. “He’s taken over and almost rushed for 1,000 yards and almost passed for 1,000 yards. He’s done whatever the teams asks him to do. Great kid, great leader.”
Renken may look a polished player but his high school football career got off to a rocky start. In his first game as a freshman, he suffered a knee injury which wiped out his freshman year.
And his sophomore year was the COVID-shortened season. So he became a varsity starter as a junior last fall without a whole lot of game experience.
“Sophomore year, I was practicing with varsity, getting reps. That prepared me for the next year,” said Renken of his junior season. “First couple games there was a learning curve. After that I settled down and just played football.”
And he’s been playing solid, steady football ever since. Last year, Farmington was 11-1 and advanced to the state quarterfinals
This week, Renken takes the 8-2 Farmers into a second round match-up with top-seeded Maroa-Forsyth in the playoffs. He says his team won’t be rattled.
“We’re just treating it the same,” Renken said. “We go in with the same intensity, maybe kicking it up a little. But other than that, it’s nothing new.”