FDLTCC football chalks up first shutout
It took just over two seasons, but the Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College football team has a shutout to show for all its hard work. Last weekend the team put up its first ever goose egg on the scoreboard and claimed its first win of the se...
It took just over two seasons, but the Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College football team has a shutout to show for all its hard work.
Last weekend the team put up its first ever goose egg on the scoreboard and claimed its first win of the season to boot in a 25-0 whitewash of Minnesota West.
Coach Tony DeLeon was obviously pleased with his team's effort, but was perhaps even more pleased with the physicality his team showed in the win.
"We had four or five guys around the ball all the time," he explained. "The defense is playing very well for us."
Fond du Lac, which finished 2-7 last season, improved to 1-2 this year with the win. DeLeon says the record is a bit of a misnomer since the team ranks first in its conference in total offense and second in total defense.
"Turnovers have killed us," he lamented. "We only turned the ball over once last week and it was with half a minute left and us ahead by 25 points. You don't mind those quite as much."
Players key to the victory included quarterback Rumeal Carlton of Fort Meade, Fla. He was 7-for-13 for 200 yards and a pair of scores.
"He did a nice job for us controlling and running the offense," DeLeon said.
Two local players keyed the defense. Nick Chandler and Josh Cummings, both of Cloquet, were in the Minnesota West backfield all day. Chandler had two sacks and six tackles, while Cummings added two and a half sacks, including one on the first play from scrimmage to set the tone for the day.
However, Fond du Lac also boasted the conference defensive player of the week in linebacker Darian McGee, a freshman from Duncanville, Texas. He had 10 tackles and scored a touchdown by returning a punt he blocked for a score.
"He's a freshman who will graduate early and go to a four-year school," DeLeon said. "But he had a nice game last week and I guess if you block a punt, recover it and score, it's the same as a hat trick here in hockey country."
DeLeon is seeing slow but steady growth in his program.
"We would like more players, but right now we're at about 40," he said. "As far as the quality of players we have and their dedication, we definitely feel we are headed in the right direction. We feel we have more of a respectable program throughout our conference."
The coach himself is a product of the state community college league, having played at Vermilion in 1991 and 1992.
"Being able to coach in this league is a personal thing for me," he said. "This league helped me and now I am fortunate enough to be able to help other student athletes like I was."
Community colleges don't offer scholarships. All they offer student-athletes is a chance to play and a uniform.
"We have kids showing dedication who are from Cloquet all the way to Florida," DeLeon said. "To be able to come here and play without that [scholarship] help is special. We give them an education and a chance to play football, so they can use their education to get to the next level."
As an example of that dedication, the team practices three days a week beginning at 6:30 in the morning.
"For the young men who stick it out, they have to mix practice, training and their education so we can continue to build our program," DeLeon said. "That tells a lot about our young men."
This weekend, Fond du Lac will try to build on its success against national power Rochester, playing away from home.
"We've got the bus trip this weekend," DeLeon said. "We travel pretty well. In the southern part of our schedule it's a bit rougher, but up north we have a good fan base and a lot of our students travel with us to see us play. We appreciate that."