After their mastery over Juniata this past weekend at Homewood Field, where they doubled the Eagles 40-20, the Hopkins football team (5-0) climbed two spots in the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) Division III Poll, ascending to the 13th slot.
The squad, which has now remained victorious in its last 19 regular season games, was paced by senior wideout Scott Cremens. In the win, the wide receiver set career highs with 178 yards receiving and three touchdowns. Such a display of dependability and flat-out athleticism awarded him the title of Centennial Conference Offensive Player of the Week.
The performance was a testament to his unflinching work ethic, since he overcame an off-season foot injury that kept him sidelined for the season-opener. His recent exploits launched him even higher in the Hopkins football record books. Cremens now stands ninth in touchdown receptions (15), tenth in receptions (113), and fourteenth in receiving yards (1,356).
However, the team remains focused on each week and refuses to think about championships — a sentiment clinched in Cremens’ interview.
We caught up with the star receiver to gage his reaction to the early success.
N-L: You doubled your season’s reception total of nine in one single week, and scored a career-high three touchdowns and 178 yards receiving. What led to this breakthrough and the dominance that ensued?
SC: I have just been working hard these past five weeks. Coming off the injury this past summer [foot], I didn’t have a chance to participate in camp or anything so it has taken me a while to get my feet back under me. But I think it’s just hard work paying off.
N-L: Today, you became the first Hopkins football player this season to win the Centennial Conference Offensive Player of the Week Award. Discuss what this award means to you.
SC: It means a lot. You know, we have a lot of weapons on our team, so to be honest, I think any one of us can win the award on any given week. It’s just a matter of who is left open and who can make plays. This week they chose to cover guys like Dan (Wodicka, WR) and Bob (D’Oranzio, WR) and Jon (Rigaud, RB) so it was just my turn and next week it will probably be theirs.
N-L: Did you sense anything this week in practice that may have hinted at such a performance to come, maybe a certain growing chemistry with Matey?
SC: Nothing too serious. We have been working really hard these past five weeks and staying after [practice] to work. Nothing changed in terms of preparation, we were just lucky this week to be able to execute.
N-L: Quarterback Robbie Matey has been tearing up defenses all year; discuss his quarterbacking and leadership abilities.
SC: You know, he’s just the commander out there and it’s great. Every time we come out for a series, he is always rallying the troops. He gets us ready for the job and he’s always prepared for every single game he puts in. He pours over the film. He never really preaches about it, but he is definitely our leader.
N-L: The team has shown promise all season and now has a regular season winning streak of 19 games. What do you see in store for this team later down the road?
SC: Well hopefully we just keep on winning. I mean, Coach (Head Coach, Jim Margraff) always preaches, “If we want to be competitive on the outside, you have to be competitive on the inside.” We have been going at it each day in practice and we can only get better.
N-L: What makes this team different from last year’s squad?
SC: I think the only difference is that we are a little bit younger. Last year we had a lot of seniors, especially on defense. This year we have two freshmen playing safety who are doing well. We have freshman receivers who are putting in time. I think just having a lot younger kids around is the biggest difference.
N-L: Discuss your off-season injury and the effect it had on you physically and emotionally during camp and the first few games.
SC: Well, I broke my left foot this summer playing softball and had to get surgery at the end of May. I hit the base and my foot just rolled. You know, it was tough; it pretty much took away my entire summer. There was no way I could prepare the way I wanted to for the upcoming season. I just kept my head up and kept working, and knew I would eventually get it going. It felt good to finally get it going this week.
N-L: As a senior, this season marks your last playing Collegiate football. Discuss your experience as a whole and what this last year means to you.
SC: Its been unbelievable; these guys are like my brothers. We have been playing together these past four years and these practices are the best two hours of my day, everyday. Its something that brings us all together and I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world.