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Four Cougars on football all-star squad
DIXFIELD -- The ability to adapt to different situations served the Dirigo football team well throughout the season and four student-athletes were selected to the Campbell Conference All Star team.
The seniors included Spencer Trenoweth, running back; Thomas Barnett, linebacker; and defensive ends Nelson Pepin and Zack White. The foursome was recognized during the annual banquet recently.
Trenoweth's first (and only) year playing in the backfield proved to be the right move because he gained 1,309 rushing yards (8.6 per carry) and 24 touchdowns. Trenoweth, a former wide receiver, is the first runner in school history to surpass 1000 yards. ''During the offseason, (coach) Dave (Crutchfield) was very excited that Spencer would fit in perfectly with the Wing-T he was implementing,'' said assistant Pat Mooney. ''I remember him saying in our coaches meetings over the summer, 'We've got to find a way to get the ball in this kid's hands.' It ended up paying huge dividends for us."
Barnett was the leader on defense without question, team-high 96 tackles and three sacks. He had was transitioned to weakside inside linebacker this year (called the "Wolf" backer). His level of play was tremendous, making tackles all over the field. ''I was able to use him in blitzes and linebacker stunts comfortably,'' said Mooney, who oversaw the defense. ''He bought into the new defensive scheme
and dominated at his position.''
In the Cougars' new look 4-4 defense, ends played a key role in bullying the tight ends at the line of scrimmage. So putting the two strongest, most aggressive players at those spots was a no-brainer. White (70 tackles) transitioned from defensive tackle to defensive end seamlessly. Pepin had some difficulty at first, changing gears from the previous "bury the quarterback" mentality to his new
assignment. Once it clicked with him, he was outstanding.
A trio of Cougars garnered Honorable Mention: seniors Brett Whittemore (quarterback) 1,020 passing yards, 16 TDs; Austin Bernard (offensive guard); and sophomore Tyler Frost (fullback/LB), 386 rushing yards (4.9 per carry), four TDs, 74 tackles, and four forced fumbles.
''Brett had a very good year,'' said Mooney, who rebounded after breaking his collarbone at the end of last season. ''We saw him throw at the 7-on-7 tourney last June and he was impressive, with good velocity, accuracy, poise, confidence. We knew he'd be all right.''
Bernard quietly did his job and did it well all season; doesn't play the glory positions at interior line on both sides of the ball, but he rarely made mistakes. Bernard shifted from center to right guard and the gamble paid off.
Frost was on the shelf, suffered a fairly severe ankle injury in a scrimmage against Mountain Valley and didn't return until week three against Poland. He was a huge complimentary piece, both offensively and defensively.
''Tyler has the natural build (5-9, 210) for both fullback and inside linebacker positions,'' said Mooney. ''There is nothing better than seeing a 130-pound cornerback try to take him head-on in the open field when he has the ball in his hands.''