Fieldcrest entered the Class 2A state football playoffs with home field advantage, but the Knights were unable to use this to their benefit as they were shut out by West Carroll 40-0 Saturday afternoon at Veteran’s Park.
    “They just flat out beat us,” Fieldcrest head coach Derek Schneeman said of his team’s performance. “They were a senior-leaden, very physical team. We wanted to get our running game going, and we couldn’t, and we just made too many mistakes to win.”
    The 10-seeded Thunder got on the scoreboard early and often in the contest. After both teams exchanged punts to start the game, West Carroll found the end zone on an option play to running back Kaleb Plattenberger from a yard out. The two-point conversion was good as the Thunder ran the exact same play, making it 8-0 with 6:11 remaining in the opening quarter.
    West Carroll scored again in the middle of the second quarter. After Fieldcrest recovered a West Carroll fumble inside their own territory, the Thunder repaid the favor, recovering a Knight fumble at the FHS 48 yard line.
    On the eighth play of the drive, quarterback Kody Plattenberger found tight end Cory Simpson for a 15-yard touchdown. After converting the two-point conversion, the Thunder led 16-0 with 2:27 remaining in the half.
    “We only had seven turnovers all year,” Schneeman said, “Today we had two interceptions and two fumbles, all resulting in scores. That’s the recipe for getting beat this time of the year.”
    To begin the second half, the Knights seemed to be putting together a solid drive. But, quarterback Cam Grandy was picked off in the red zone, which proved to be a costly one.
    The Thunder, starting at their own 19 yard line, put together a 12-play, 81-yard drive lasting almost 6 minutes and was capped off by Kody Plattenberger’s 23-yard touchdown pass to Kaleb Plattenberger to make it 22-0 with 1:35 left in the third quarter.
    “A few turnovers this time of the year will kill you,” Schneeman said, “especially against a team like that, who will take advantage of your turnovers.”
The Thunder quickly recovered another Fieldcrest fumble were back in business.
Starting at the Knights' 44 yard line, West Carroll drove again, this time ending the drive on a 5-yard run by Kody Plattenberger with 7:19 left in the game, putting the game out of reach at 28-0. Touchdown runs by Derek Tracy and Kaleb Hartman late in the fourth quarter gave the Thunder the decisive 40-0 victory and a spot in the second round opposite Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley.
Despite the lopsided loss, coach Schneeman was optimistic about the future.
“I can’t say enough about these guys,” he said. “We had four seniors playing today, so we are incredibly young. We had a lot of injuries, as well.
“All year we had guys stepping up and overcoming adversity, and that is a good sign for our program.”
The seventh-seeded Knights (7-3) were led by Grandy, who was 9 of 16 for 60 yards. He was picked off twice, but also had 16 rushing yards.
The Thunder (7-3), who will host the second-seeded Falcons next weekend, were led on the day by Kalen Plattenberger, who rushed for 80 yards on 20 carries and had two touchdowns, one rushing and one receiving. Kaleb Plattenberger finished the afternoon going 7-for-13 for 118 yards and two touchdowns, while also adding a rushing touchdown.