Coming off a promising seven-win campaign and loaded with talent on both sides of the ball, 2018 was supposed to be the year Beloit Turner’s football program finally took the next step, drawing upon its strong player pool to make a deep playoff run.
Everything was going smoothly. After Week 5, the Trojans were 4-1 and squarely in the Rock Valley Conference title mix.
Then it all fell apart. A rash of athletic code violations ravaged the roster, leading to a precipitous second-half collapse.
The drop-off was remarkable:
During Weeks 1-5, the Trojans went 4-1 and outscored opponents 170-80.
- During Weeks 6-10, the Trojans went 0-5 and were outscored 229-44.
Turner’s once-promising season ended with a humbling 42-0 loss to Lakeside Lutheran in a first-round playoff game.
But that’s all in the past. The Trojans have a clean slate again, much to the relief of head coach Derek Diehl.
“We’re looking forward,” he said. “Kids are going to make mistakes, and we’re not going to sit here and dwell on them.
“We learned our lessons last year.”
Turner’s bid for a third straight playoff berth begins with its offense and quarterback Kenny Draeving. The senior has completed 50.8% of his passes for 2,276 yards, 26 touchdowns and 10 interceptions since taking over as the starter two years ago.
The 6-foot-5 Draeving was included on Wissports.net’s preseason watch list and has been working with new offensive coordinator Brad Dement to polish his game.
“Kenny has all the tools,” Diehl said. “He was put into quarterback as a sophomore and never played it growing up. I’m super impressed with his ability to focus and learn the position.”
Draeving will have plenty of options in the passing game. Diehl said the Trojans are “seven or eight” deep at receiver, led by senior Dai’Vontrelle Strong, junior Grant Revels and senior Preston Viens. Strong led the team in 2018 with 11 receptions for 239 yards and four touchdowns.
Running back remains a question mark, with junior Colton Crall and senior Treveon Bivens the frontrunners. Crall had 17 carries last season, while Bivens has not played at the varsity level.
Look for the Trojans to pass more often as they lean on their veteran QB and his abundance of weapons.
“We’re changing a little bit,” Diehl said. “In the past, we’ve been (mostly) two-back sets. Now, we’re a spread team looking to throw it.”
Turner’s offensive line, a group Diehl described as “monsters,” will be led by its two tackles—6-foot-7, 330-pound senior Dylan Hoppe and 6-foot-7, 275-pound Ryan Sennett.
Defensively, the Trojans will be strong up front and in the secondary. Seniors Jack Scharlau and Trey Griinke, a second-team all-conference pick last season, will be a formidable duo on the edge in Turner’s 4-3 scheme, while senior Mickey Burrows and Bivens are set to start at the safety spots.
The linebacker unit is a work in progress. The Trojans graduated five seniors.
“We know we have some spots on defense to fill,” Diehl said.
If the Trojans can plug those holes and lean on what should be one of the more productive offenses in the Rock Valley, a playoff berth and more is within reach.
Turner 2019 roster
No. Player Yr. Ht. Wt. Pos.
1 Dai’Vontrell Strong Sr. 6-6 205 WR/DB
2 Trayke Teeter Jr. 5-7 175 HB/DB
3 Colton Crall Jr. 5-8 175 HB/DB
4 Calvin Coldrren Jr. 5-7 145 WR/DB
8 Jackson Carter Sr. 6-4 210 WR/DE
9 Treveon Bivens Sr. 5-11 175 DB/HB
12 Kenny Draeving Sr. 6-5 210 QB/DE/LB
13 Camden Combs So. 5-8 140 WR/DB
14 Danny Burrows Jr. 5-9 150 QB/LB
20 Mac Kurth Jr. 5-11 190 QB/LB
30 Colin Leeder Sr. 5-10 175 HB/DB
32 Andrew Ries Sr. 5-11 210 LB/TE
33 Cal Ries So. 5-11 180 LB/OL
34 Mickey Burrows Sr. 5-9 160 HB/SS
36 Aiden Dahl Jr. 5-11 195 FB/MLB
40 Shawn Murray So. 6-1 185 DE/TE
44 Gabe Servant Sr. 5-9 170 LB
52 Dayton Yuhas So. 6-0 205 LB/OL
55 Austin Wells So. 5-9 200 OL/DT
56 Phoukahm Phonesavahn Jr. 5-11 210 OL/DL
58 Jack Scharlau Sr. 6-4 205 OL/DL
66 Trey Griinke Sr. 6-3 215 DE/OL
69 Armando Isunza So. 6-1 275 OL/DL
70 Dylan Hoppe Sr. 6-7 310 OL/DL
76 Kolton Berger Sr. 6-3 230 OL/DL
79 Ryan Sennett Sr. 6-7 275 OT/DE
85 Grant Revels Jr. 6-1 160 WR/DB
86 Preston Viens Sr. 5-11 160 WR/DB
88 Ismeal Lopez Sr. 5-11 190 K