Trojans pluck Eagles, 26-12
WORTHINGTON -- The Worthington football team found the offense it had been looking for all season as the Trojans earned their first victory of the season with a 26-12 win over Windom Friday night.
"It feels great," Kyle Vaske said. "It's been about a year since we won, and it's about time we won again."
Vaske was 15-of-27 for 199 yards in the air to lead a Trojan offense that struggled to score points in the first two weeks.
"I have to go prove myself everyday," Vaske said. "We have a lot of great receivers, and we came through today."
Worthington (1-1, 1-2) was playing its first home game of the season after traveling to Fairmont and Pipestone.
"It's our home field, and everyone wanted to protect our home field," Vaske said. "A lot of practice finally played off."
Among Vaske's favorite targets was a player he splits time with -- Mike Vorwald.
Vorwald had 22 yards through the air including a touchdown, but saw time at receiver when he wasn't taking snaps. He caught four passes for 77 yards in the game.
"He's a great receiver," Vaske said. "He's fast and quick and can beat anyone off the ball, and he has great hands. If he beats them, I'll find him."
Adou Omot was another prime target, as he had 59 yards on five receptions.
After Worthington went three-and-out on its first possession, the Windom Eagles (0-1, 1-2) looked poised to score on their first drive.
Behind 29 yards from Brett Lohse, Windom ran the ball down the field on the Trojan defense. However, facing a fourth-and-four from the 15-yard line, Worthington's Corey Steffl intercepted a Ryan Gilbertson pass to end the threat.
"I just feel like we played so well in the first quarter, and I thought we were going to be able to move the ball, but then it just died," Windom head coach Erin Elder said. "It was a circus, we can't give up the ball. It was terrible situations that we put ourselves into."
Worthington took over on its own 11-yard line, but Nick Eisenmenger returned an interception for a touchdown, giving Windom an early 6-0 lead.
It would not take long for the Trojans to answer.
The two teams combined for four penalties in the first five plays of the Trojan's next drive, but Vaske's arm led Worthington down the field.
Vaske threw for 75 yards on the drive, capped by an 11-yard strike to Vorwald to tie the game at 6-all.
The Trojans had the ball inside the Eagles' 20-yard line on their next two drives, but could not find the endzone, as the half ended in a 6-6 tie.
"It was frusterating, because in the first half I thought we had so many opportunities," Worthington head coach Dennis Hale said. "We kept playing just the way we had the first two weeks with penalties and dropped passes. At 6-6 at half, it wasn't a very happy time, because I thought we had really wasted a lot of opportunities."
It didn't take long for the Trojans to take advantage of a scoring opportunity in the second half.
After forcing Windom to punt on the Eagles' first possession, a penalty gave the Trojans excellent field position to start their drive. After one play from the Eagles' 13-yard line, Vaske found Omot on the right side. Omot fumbled in the endzone, but Worthington's Julio Casillas covered the ball for the touchdown. The PAT was no good, giving Worthington a 12-6 advantage.
The Trojan offense once again found its way to the endzone on its next drive, this time a pass from Vorwald to Tom Mammen from 17 yards out. The two-point conversion was successful, giving Worthington a 20-6 advantage.
Worthington covered a fumble in the endzone, again for a touchdown -- pushing the lead to 26-6.
"Worthington fumbled the ball two times in the endzone, and we didn't recover either of them," Elder said. "We didn't ever climb out of the hole again. We have a lot of work to do."
The Eagles' offense found the endzone with 4:29 left in the game, but it was too little, too late for Windom as the Trojans secured the 14-point victory.
"We played well defensively," Hale said. "That first series, they really moved the ball and we looked ball. But all of a sudden, we stopped them and played much more aggressive."
The Trojan defense allowed just 204 total yards, and just 129 on the ground to a run-dominant team.
Worthington also forced three interceptions and two fumbles.
"We made some bad decisions and we threw the ball away a little bit," Elder said. "We didn't make the proper check downs and we had some receivers running the wrong routes. So you put all those things together and bad things happen."
Hale was pleased with the turnovers that his defense was able to cause.
"We had some good interceptions," Hale said. "A lot of those were in the first half where we got good field position and our one turnover gave them a touchdown, which wasn't good. Overall, it's a win and you watch the film and you see a lot of things and you just try to get better."
For Worthington, Tim Roos led the way with 43 yards on 10 carries.
The Eagles will try to regroup next week when they will host Luverne.
"We have a lot of games left and a lot of opportunities left to prove ourselves, so we would have liked to have been 2-1," Elder said. "But it's one of those games that we felt that we could win and we go into a tough stretch versus a couple really good teams from the conference these next couple of weeks and we really needed to get this one. But they'll have more opportunities."
The Trojans will have their second consecutive home game when they host Brandon Valley, S.D.
"We have a very big challenge coming up now with Brandon Valley, one of the big schools in South Dakota," Hale said. "So we have our work cut out for us this week. But we're coming off a win, so it's a lot better than entering that game at 0-3."
Windom 6 0 0 6 -- 12
Worthington 6 0 14 6 -- 26