Football: Willmar's Trevino trending upward
A middle school lineman turned RB, Cards' junior is gaining confidence
WILLMAR — When describing his success in his first year as a starting running back for the Willmar football team, Ramero Trevino is quick to credit the work of his offensive line.
“It all starts with the line; when they eat, I’m gonna eat,” Trevino said. “It’s all thanks to the line. Without the line, we wouldn’t have those types of runs.”
After all, it was only a few short years ago that Trevino was an offensive lineman himself, opening holes for runners instead of being the one to sprint through holes.
Early in middle school football, Trevino was too big to play running back, so he was put into the trenches as a blocker. It wasn’t until seventh grade that he finally got his chance to put the ball in his hands as a running back.
“It wasn’t always fun, of course,” Trevino said with a laugh,reminiscing about his days as a lineman. “It can be fun getting pancakes — our linemen have been getting a whole bunch of pancakes — and it can be boring. But at the end of the day, the whole team’s after one goal.”
But, Trevino added, “It was pretty fun going from a lineman to a skill position.”
At 5-foot-10 and 210 pounds, the Cardinals junior is finding his groove as the lead back. After a slow start to the season, Trevino has 182 yards and five touchdowns over the past two weeks, both Willmar wins.
Heading into Friday’s homecoming matchup against Delano (7 p.m. at Hodapp Field), Trevino has 272 yards on 50 carries, an average of 5.4 yards per attempt.
“You guys are now seeing what we’ve been seeing the past two years in practice,” said Willmar head coach Jon Konold. “Sometimes it takes kids a little bit to get their feet wet and know that you’re good enough to compete at this level and to showcase your skills. … We just keep adding to his plate as the weeks go on and he’s really improved.”
Along with his size, Trevino is also fleet of foot. According to Konold, Trevino runs in the 4.6-second range in the 40-yard dash. He was also a part of the Willmar track and field team’s 4x100-meter relay that finished second at state in Class AA with a time of 42.82 seconds.
“He’s one of our strongest kids in the weight room and one of our fastest kids on the track,” Konold said. “That’s a good combination. You get some vision and some agility in there, it makes for a tough back to tackle, that’s for sure.”
When you ask Trevino about his standout skill as a running back, it’s breaking tackles. But Trevino admits that in Week 1 against St. Cloud Apollo, he was hesitant to hammer defenders that got in his way.
“Coach told me I got to hit the gap harder,” Trevino said, “and I’ve been following that and realized it’s not all about going to the outside and getting long yards. We can grind through, get two or three yards, then the next carry get 60, 70, 80 yards, whatever it is.”
Trevino is also trying to play the position more instinctively.
“Just play football and stop thinking about it,” Trevino said. “Believe in your line, believe in your guys and trust that you can get the job done.”
Konold added, “Ramero's starting to get that comfort level right now. He’ll have some ups and downs and we know that, but that consistent growth and experience is the big thing for him. He’s got the tools, you just got to be able to put them together on a consistent basis.”
In the backfield, Trevino is paired with another new starter and fellow junior in quarterback Cullen Gregory. The two are trying to replace a pair of fleet-footed two-year starters in running back Michael Price and quarterback Alex Schramm. Both are playing college football, with Price at Division III Wisconsin-River Falls and Schramm at D-II Minnesota-Duluth.
Like Trevino, Gregory uses his size to his advantage at 6-2 and 225 pounds. Gregory has 286 rushing yards and three touchdowns on 54 attempts.
“When you got two guys who are really good at breaking tackles, it’s going to be tough,” Trevino said.
In the second half of the season, Konold is looking for Trevino to hone his improving skill set while utilizing him as a threat in the pass game.
“One of the things we’ve been working on with him recently is catching the ball out of the backfield and lining him up in some different spots that’ll get him the ball in space,” Konold said.
And, Trevino’s days as a blocker aren’t quite over. He’s on the line for Willmar’s punt team.
After sharing time on the line in his younger days, Trevino is all the more thankful for the guys up front.
“I appreciate it,” Trevino said. “I appreciate it very much.”
Delano comes into Friday’s matchup with some momentum after snapping a three-game losing streak last week.
The Tigers shut out Big Lake at home, 27-0.
While sporting a 2-3 record, two of Delano’s losses have come by three points or fewer: 31-28 to Becker in Week 3 and 28-26 to Buffalo in Week 4.
The Tigers’ head coach is Sean Peterson. He’s in his first season after replacing hall of fame coach Merrill Pavlovich. Pavlovich is fifth in state history with 315 career wins.
Delano’s offense is led by quarterback Cade Bruett. He has completed 74.2 percent of his passes (66 of 89) for 835 yards, seven touchdowns and three interceptions. His top target is Jake Schultz, with 24 receptions for 305 yards and a pair of scores. Teague Collings has hauled in four TDs for the Tigers.
Cole Schmidt is Delano’s feature back with 326 yards and three scores on 67 carries. He’s also second on the team with 31 tackles, trailing Luke Frank’s 38.