Moniteau visiting Karns City for grid clash
Trent Beachem and Cole Johnston are learning what it takes to be a starting varsity quarterback and both have shown promise in a short period of time.
It’s one of the storylines that will play out Friday at Diehl Stadium when Karns City welcomes backyard rival Moniteau for a 7 p.m. kickoff.
Beachem, a junior for Moniteau (1-3, 0-2), was the team’s backup quarterback last year. He has thrown four interceptions in four games, but Warriors coach Bob Rottman sees a lot of potential in the signal caller. Beachem has countered his mistakes with 548 yards through the air and a county-leading 10 touchdowns.
“He’s getting a little more confident, more comfortable every week,” said Rottman. “He’s able to find the open guy. He had a couple pick-6s against Cameron County a couple of weeks ago, but we were down, trying to come back and were pressing a bit.”
Beachem connected with six different receivers and threw for three scores in last week’s 47-28 loss to Brookville.
Johnston, a freshman, has been a key contributor to KC’s back-to-back wins after an 0-2 start.
In last week’s 30-7 victory at Saint Marys, Johnston completed all five of his pass attempts for 62 yards and a touchdown.
“He had a big completion on a 3rd-and-long that set up a 4th-and-short that we picked up to keep possession,” said Gremlins coach Joe Sherwin. “The touchdown went to Luke Cramer and it was nice to get him involved in the passing game.”
Cramer (178 yards, 4 TDs) and Hunter Scherer (306-4) have combined to gain nearly 500 rushing yards between them. Scherer returned a kickoff 80 yards for a score two weeks ago to help KC win for the first time this season, a 35-14 decision at Ridgway.
Now a sophomore, Scherer carried the ball just 10 times in 2022.
“He’s always been a good runner, but he’s a year older now and more mature,” Sherwin said. “He focused on becoming a better blocker and he likes contact.”
While Rottman said Moniteau is certainly aware of Johnston’s ability to make plays in the passing game, he doesn’t expect the Gremlins to change who they are.
“They’ve been a running team since forever,” he said. “They’ll stick to that.”
Most impressive about KC’s win at Saint Marys last week was the Gremlins’ ability to win decisively despite facing a Dutchmen ground game that had been averaging over 250 yards per game.
“We spent the week of practice making sure we would stay in our gaps and pursue properly,” said Sherwin. “We had a lot of guys going to the ball, got up 16-0 and I think (Saint Marys) got away from their running game after that.”
KC junior defensive lineman Troy Nagel leads the team in tackles for loss (6), including 3½ sacks.
Logan Campbell paces Moniteau with 198 rushing yards. He also leads the team with 15 receptions worth 163 yards.
Defensively, Jayden Keene, Adam Grossman and Brock Beachem have combined for 13 tackles behind the line of scrimmage.
Sherwin said KC (2-2, 1-1) is not preparing to face a 1-3 team. Rather, the Gremlins expect to be met with a stiff challenge from their biggest rival.
“We know they’ll be going all-out,” he said of the Warriors.