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Trojans look for happy homecoming against Tigers

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WORTHINGTON -- A week after facing an undefeated team, the Worthington Trojans will face another undefeated opponent in the Marshall Tigers.

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"I don't think they've lost to a Southwest Conference team the last three years," Worthington head coach Dennis Hale said.

The Trojans (1-2, 1-4) host the Tigers (4-0, 5-0) tonight in Worthington's homecoming game.

"If the kids can get more incentive because of the fact that it's homecoming, that's great," Hale said. "But I don't think they are being distracted by it, and I haven't really given it much thought."

The Trojans are coming off a 31-7 loss at the hands of Luverne a week ago.

"Our effort was good," Hale said of last week's game. "Defensively, we broke down in the secondary one time, and they threw a pass for a touchdown. Late in the game, they had a long run, and our kids didn't execute correctly. Otherwise, defensively, we played pretty good against Luverne, and Luverne has an excellent offense."

Offensively, the Trojans outgained the No. 2 Class AA team in the state.

"We ended up with more yards than they did," Hale said. "We're not into moral victories, but at least we weren't being shutout offensively where we couldn't do anything."

Mike Vorwald (72 yards), Kyle Vaske (59 yards) and Travis Meinders (50 yards) led the Trojan passing attack a week ago. All three might see some time tonight.

"We're not a one quarterback team, and it's hard for me to say who's going to play the most," Hale said. "It usually ends up that Kyle throws more than the other two, but the other two are more elusive runners, so it gives us options."

On the other side of the ball, the Tigers are fresh off a 28-7 victory over Windom and they bring a balanced attack offensively.

"They run the wing T, and they run it very well," Hale said. "I think you would say they are a running team more than a passing team, but their passing attack is always play-action, so it's big plays."

Last week, Marshall was led by Trey Welch (114 yards on 14 attempts) and Danny Hansen (61 yards on 9 carries) on the ground.

Through the air, Ryan Sanow was 7-of-12 for 139 yards and two touchdowns. However, he threw two interceptions in the Tiger's victory -- his first two picks of the year.

"Defense wins games, so we have to somehow shut them down," Hale said. "We haven't done a very good job the past few years, so that's a big challenge."

Last year, the Trojans suffered a 37-0 loss to the Tigers.

This year, Worthington is entering a crucial time in its schedule.

"It's very important for us to play well all our remaining games," Hale said. "We're not in the playoffs. We're in a 9-team section, and eight teams are getting in. Our playoffs are basically starting; we have to win some ballgames to get in even. We have a lot of incentive."

Worthington joins Fairmont, Blue Earth, Waseca, Maple River, St. Peter, Le Sueur, Jordan and Belle Plaine in the section.

If the Trojans are going to win tonight, turnovers will be the key.

Last week, Worthington committed five turnovers, one of which Luverne returned for a touchdown.

"All year long, we've been our own worst enemy," Hale said. "It comes down to the turnovers again. If we eliminate the turnovers, who knows what will happen."

For Worthington to earn its second victory of the season with an upset over Marshall, Hale said it won't be because of just a few players.

"I hope it's a team thing; I think it's more than a couple of players," Hale said. "We need the Worthington Trojans to step up."

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