FREMONT — Fremont has experience on its side for a change and hopes that experience can work to its advantage toward a lot of success.

Jim Hummer will return to the sidelines after taking on a smaller role behind the scenes and giving way to assistant coach Todd Herndon last season in order to care for his wife Dana, who suffered a stroke just before the Eagles’ scrimmage last year. Jim said his wife has made considerable improvement after the stroke put her in intensive care for a time. She is walking with a cane.

“Thanks to Todd for keeping things going and for the rest of the staff to step up while I was gone,” said Jim Hummer, who is in his sixth season as head coach and seventh season overall with the Fremont football program.

“I feel like our returning starting depth gives us the best Fremont team there’s been in 10 years. We have a lot higher expectations. I’m excited about the season.”

Hummer has one of the better playmakers in the area back for his senior season in quarterback-cornerback Kameron Colclasure.

The offense will be all Colclasure’s. He split snaps with Gabel Pentecost last season. Pentecost is not playing football in his junior season to focus more on basketball and baseball.

Colclasure scored 14 touchdowns on offense and completed 48% of his passes (54-112) for 583 yards and four touchdowns in 2019. He rushed for 562 yards at nearly seven yards per carry, and also caught seven passes for 131 yards.

“Kameron creates big plays. He’s the focal point and he needs to continue that,” Hummer said. “He improves in the passing game, that opens up our offense even more.”

The top three receivers from last season return in junior receiver Logan Brace (16 receptions, 213 yards, two touchdowns) and senior running backs Dylan Parsons (181 yards receiving, 170 yards rushing, 1 TD) and Carson Flynn (eight catches, 135 yards, 3 TDs). Flynn moved to the area from Minnesota and finished last season strong. Senior receiver Jaden Zuccolotto is also expected to contribute.

Three offensive linemen will be starting in their fourth varsity seasons in center Jon Armstrong, guard R.J. Dilbone and tackle Drew Brosey. Hummer likes the potential of 6-foot-5, 240-pound junior Terran Wills up front.

About all of those guys will play plenty on defense. Hummer hopes some young guys develop during preseason camp to give the Eagles some depth on the defensive and offensive lines.

The defensive line rotation will include Armstrong, Dilbone, Brosey and Wills. Parsons on the inside and Brace on the outside are returning starters at linebacker. Senior Austin Patterson and sophomore Carter Meeks will also be in the linebacker mix.

The entire starting secondary returns for the Eagles (4-6, 2-2 Northeast Corner Conference Small School division, last season). Senior Robert Skorupski will be at the other cornerback spot. Flynn and Zuccolotto will be back at safety.

Flynn led the team in tackles last season with 69.5, including 54 solos, and shared the FHS lead in interceptions with Brace at three. Zuccolotto made 49 tackles, including 40 solos. Brace also made 37.5 total tackles, two sacks and recovered a fumble in 2019.

Fremont has an opportunity to start well playing other small schools with similar trials and tribulations. The Eagles open at Southern Wells, then host Hilltop from West Unity, Ohio, and River Valley, Michigan.

Southern Wells has had the better of Fremont historically on the gridiron, but has struggled with numbers over the past few years. Hilltop, from neighboring Williams County, had 243 students from grades 7-12 last school year. Its football Cadets went 2-8 last season under coach and former Trine University student-athlete Nathan Massie.

River Valley went under after its 41-14 home loss to Fremont last year. River Valley canceled its season after two games. WSJM radio (94.9 FM, Benton Harbor) reported that three players were kicked off the team for starting a boycott of practice in the week following the Fremont game and other players were suspended for taking part in the boycott. That left the team with too few players to complete the season.

The other new opponent is from southwest Michigan like River Valley in Decatur on the road in the regular season finale on Oct. 16. The Raiders were 4-5 last season, and lost several seniors to graduation from a team with numbers in the low 30s.

The coronavirus and a smaller incoming freshman class at Fremont has Hummer concerned about the numbers in his program. “I’ll be doing great if I have 35,” he said. “We got to stay healthy and play with confidence.”

The Eagles added two new assistant coaches to join Herndon, the defensive coordinator, and line coach Dave Armstrong. Trevor Thomas and Austen Curtis will share junior varsity coaching duties. Thomas will coach linebackers and running backs on the varsity while Curtis will coach receivers and defensive backs.

Curtis is an Angola High School graduate who has recently been an assistant coach at his alma mater.

Thomas was a linebacker and fullback at Central Michigan University from 2014-18. He is the son-in-law of Fremont strongman pastor, trainer, motivational speaker and best-selling author Jon Bruney.

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