4-12 Turner FB1

Big Foot and QB Basil Demco will renew acquaintances with Beloit Turner Friday night.

BELOIT—At long last, the Beloit Turner Trojans are set to face a familiar foe.

The Trojans enter the season’s final game at Big Foot with a 3-5 record., while the Chiefs, the lone team along with Turner to make the switch from the Rock Valley Conference to the Capitol, sit at 3-6, which includes a forfeit victory over powerful Columbus.

Turner is coming off its worst defeat of the season, a 55-6 drubbing at the hands of Columbus, one of the top teams in Division 4.

While his team is no longer in playoff contention, Turner coach Derek Diehl says he’s hoping Friday isn’t Turner’s last dance.

“As we speak, we are currently seeking a 10th game that we would play next week,” Diehl said. “We are asking other area teams that aren’t going to be in the postseason if they want to play. In week nine, it can be a struggle to maintain the same intensity that you had in the first few weeks. If we can get a 10th game, it would avoid that ‘let’s just get through the week’ mentality. We have a couple of players step away this week, and those guys are victims of playing football as opposed to being football players.”

Diehl is impressed with Big Foot’s ability to have success in the passing game behind quarterback Basil Demco and in the running game with Jax Hertel. In the previous seasons, Demco had thrown the ball more than he has this year.

“They are still solid with their passing attack,” Diehl said. “The difference now is that they’ve found a run game. In high school football, that gives you more chances to succeed. Last week, we threw the ball 40 times and had our lowest quarterback rating of the year. It’s just not ideal.

Big Foot still has a chance to qualify for the playoffs. Recent projections, in fact, have the Chiefs in with a win over Turner.

“We talked about that first thing Monday morning with our players,” Big Foot coach Mike Welden said. “If we win, sure, we could be in depending on what happens. But the only thing we can control how we play. And one thing we know for sure is that if we lose, there is no chance whatsoever. So whether it ends up being that way or not, my expectation would be that everyone on the field plays like it’s their last game, even if it won’t be.”

The Chiefs have suffered a trio of close losses this season, and are coming off a 27-14 defeat to Watertown Luther Prep.

“There are definitely similarities in the close games we’ve lost,” Welden said. “And in those games, we either started getting shut down running the ball, or the other team had a lot of success running against us. I’ve got to give credit to a lot of teams in this conference, there are a lot of really good teams with really good players. Particularly on the lines, and those guys typically are going to go both ways. Teams at times have taken advantage of us up front, and when you can’t run the ball, it does get more difficult to throw it as well.”

Welden said Hertel’s success has come as no surprise.

“Jax is one of our leaders,” Welden said. “He’s a junior captain for us, and he works really hard off the field, at practice and in the games. He runs really hard. Even if a hole isn’t there, he’ll cut back and get a couple of yards. He also has good hands, and we need to utilize him more in the passing game.”

Hertel has racked up 1,108 yards on just 154 carries, an average of 7.2 yards per rush.

Hertel has been productive in the red zone and has 10 touchdowns.

Alex Schmitz has been Demco’s main target with 506 yards and five touchdowns. The next-highest in terms of yards is Ashton Robinson with 113 yards.

Welden said he’s been impressed with Turner as well.

“They have some really good skill kids,” Welden said. “They have a quarterback that can sling it, and they are similar to us in that if they can protect him, they can make some really big plays. They do a lot of different things offensively. They can line up heavy, or they can line up empty and spread you out. Our guys are going to have to be ready for everything.”

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