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With college choice out of the way, Pine Creek's Fields ready for battle
Lineman chooses Wyoming
Pine Creek coach Todd Miller hasn’t singled out a starting quarterback, so he’ll rotate junior Kamden Adkins and senior Kyle Windebank — possibly every series.
Atkins will start Thursday’s opener at Fountain-Fort Carson.
“That’s what we’ll do right now,” Miller said. “We’ll see where it’s at. I’ve never done it before.”
The past two quarterbacks have set a high standard at Pine Creek. Kris Kentera is now on Vanderbilt’s football team and Ryan Warner is playing in the Colorado Rockies minor league system.
Step into Dalton Fields’ shoulder pads, and the seriousness of the situation makes sense.
“This is war, it really is,” said Fields, a Pine Creek senior about Thursday’s 7 p.m. football opener at Fountain-Fort Carson.
It’s hyperbole, of course, and maybe an ill-advised metaphor when playing a school that draws students from an army base, but for a stern-minded, 17-year-old Eagle Scout like Fields it’s hard to look at this game in any other way. Fields even finalized his college choice early — committing last week to Wyoming — so he could clear the decks before the season.
Pine Creek hasn’t lost to a team in the Pikes Peak region in 35 games since a 2007 loss to Fountain-Fort Carson and has outscored local foes by an average of 43-7 in that span. The Trojans are the only local team in that time to play the Eagles within 10 points, having done it twice (including a 14-6 thriller last year).
Times, however, seem desperate for Pine Creek. Every offensive starter is gone from last year’s 4A runner-up squad, and on the schedule after Fountain-Fort Carson — as good as it has been in years, maybe ever — are the participants in last year’s 5A state final, Lakewood and Columbine.
For a senior like Fields, who feels the weight of the program and its legacy on his back, the urgency is palpable.
“We’re just excited to come out with a bang and show everyone how well we reload,” said Fields, a 6-foot-2, 275-pound offensive and defensive tackle. “Obviously there’s a lot of speculation that we’re not going to be as good, but we’re ready to go.”
For everybody else, there couldn’t be a more entertaining start to the season. Both Fountain-Fort Carson coach Mitch Johnson and Pine Creek coach Todd Miller have talked at length about what a healthy rivalry this is and how both sides have nothing but respect for each other.
“If I’m a fan and not a coach — just someone who likes high school football — I would circle this game to be at,” Miller said.
This game generally features at least one Division I-bound senior. Last year it was Fountain-Fort Carson linebacker Kevin Davis — now at Colorado State. The year before it was Pine Creek quarterback Kris Kentera — now at Vanderbilt.
This time it is Fields, who chose Wyoming over offers from CSU, Northern Colorado and San Diego State.
He’ll likely play defensive tackle at the next level and has heard coaches want him to play at about 300 pounds. He’s open to the idea as long as it gets him on the field.
“The thing about Wyoming is you can’t get much better than the fan base,” Fields said. “I’m really excited about that.”
Miller raves about his latest star pupil.
“He’s a better person than he is a football player,” Miller said. “He’s just a good kid in the classroom, the hallway and in the way he treats people. He’s everything you’d want your son to be. He’s given us everything he has.”
But Fields plans on giving plenty more this season. And it starts right away.
“We have a big target on our back, and obviously we want to keep winning,” Fields said. “It’s a legacy from when coach Miller got here all the way to us, and we want to make sure the legacy continues further down the road. We’re talking to freshmen saying they need to work hard too, because we want them to go 10-0 as well. We just want to make sure the legacy and tradition of Pine Creek football stays.”