High school football: Trojans, Eagles hungry for more
WORTHINGTON — Relief. Confirmation. Deliverance. Substitute any adjective that fits, but let it be known that the Windom and Worthington football teams know what it feels like when a heavy weight drops from their shoulders.
The 2013 Windom Area Eagles recorded their first victory since the first week of the 2010 playoff season with a season-opening 22-14 victory over St. James.
The Worthington Trojans had to wait longer. They lost their first two games, to Fairmont and Luverne, and went 10 quarters before finally scoring a point in Week 3 against Redwood Valley — a game that they won.
Now 1-2 on the 2013 season, both teams remain hungry — no longer hungry to get into the win column, but to show that they can compile a few of those “W’s.” They meet on the field of battle Friday at Trojan Field.
“It was a real cool thing for those guys to get that win early,” said Windom Area’s first-year head coach Bob Elwell. “It was about the first time the senior class had success on the scoreboard.”
Likewise, Worthington’s 14-6 triumph over Redwood Valley provided much-needed uplift for the Trojans who, after three straight road games against teams nicknamed “Cardinals,” finally get to play their home opener this Friday — albeit against another “bird” opponent.
When the Trojans found paydirt in the third quarter of the Redwood game, said head coach Brad Grimmius on Tuesday, “It was a big event change for us.”He recalls a “heated” halftime meeting with the offensive linemen that lasted for about five minutes.
“As a coaching group, we asked, ‘When is enough enough? When are you going to put the ball in the end zone?’” Grimmius said.
In the second half, the coaches cut the playbook almost to a third of its running plays. There was no deception, just power running plays, Grimmius said.
There was also success.
On Friday, one of these two teams will even its record at 2-2. If it is to be Windom Area, the Eagles will need to cut back on their recent spate of turnovers. If it is to be Worthington, the Trojans will need to continue finishing their drives and stay away from costly penalties.
Elwell wants his team to get off to a fast start and not to “ease” into games as the Eagles have done so far this season. WAHS fell behind St. James 6-0 in the first quarter before winning that game 22-14. The Eagles then fell behind Pipestone Area 24-0 at halftime en route to a 24-14 loss. They then fell behind Blue Earth Area 20-0 at the half in a 34-0 setback. They committed four first half turnovers against the Arrows and six overall, and another four turnovers against BEA.
The Eagles, like the Trojans, like to establish the run to set up the pass. Elwell has been happy with his defense, believing that if it is not put into bad situations it can do its job well. Senior defensive end Bryce Bever, senior cornerback Jacob Gotto and sophomore defensive back Jeff Pfeffer are the mainstays.
Grimmius sees the Eagles as an outfit that covers well. Their secondary is quick, and closes in a hurry.
Elwell sees Worthington as a “very talented team” creative in its ability to use deception to its advantage, lacking size in some spots but good at working gaps. It will be important for the Eagles to stay disciplined, he says.
The Trojans achieved their measure of offensive success last week after making some personnel switches — among them, moving their outstanding senior athlete, Will Dudley, from running back to quarterback. Blake Schroeder moved from quarterback to wide receiver and, according to Grimmius, showed great character in not only accepting the move, but playing well against Redwood Valley.
Trojan players are demonstrating each week that the team matters more than the individual, Grimmius said. The team’s goal is to get better each week, and the players consistently show their desire to improve.