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Trojans face unknown opponent in Fairmont

WORTHINGTON -- After three weeks of practice, the Worthington Trojan football team will finally take the field for its season opener at 7 p.m. tonight in Fairmont.

"I think the first game you're really anxious every year," Worthington head coach Dennis Hale said. "You wait and you wait for that first game, you practice three weeks and it seems like it takes forever."

Worthington has not played Fairmont recently, and because the Cardinals have a new coaching staff Hale said he doesn't know what to expect tonight.

"We haven't played them now in a while in the regular season," Hale said. "They have a new coach, so it's one of those opening games where we don't know much about them, and if it was the same coach they had when we played them in the past, we would have a little bit of an idea. But with a new staff, we have to go find out."

Hale said that preparing for tonight's game has been more difficult because of the lack of scouting the team has been able to do.

"It's easier when you've scouted people, after this we'll exchange film each week, and so you have the previous game," Hale said. "But everybody changes a little bit. You get their basic package and practice against their formations. The first week's game is always a little tougher."

For the Trojans, two keys will be turnovers and penalties.

"We have to make sure that we eliminate turnovers and cause a few," Hale said. "(We have to) avoid the penalties."

Hale said the team is ready to go, but hopes that they aren't too nervous when they take the field in Fairmont.

"I always worry about being too ready that first game, of just being nervous," Hale said. "We have to be in the right frame of mind. But you don't want to be so nervous that you forget your assignments."

Worthington's first test came in a scrimmage last weekend in Mankato.

"We weren't the dominant team by any means, but we moved the ball pretty good on offense," Hale said. "Defensively, I thought we started out pretty poor, but we got better as the day went on. We left the field healthy, and probably in the right frame of mind -- the things that we saw needed correcting were correctible."

After the scrimmage, Hale said that a small adjustment in the defensive line and reevaluating some personnel decisions would be made before tonight's game.

But for Hale, the best part was what didn't happen -- injuries.

"The main thing is that we came back healthy," Hale said. "I think that's always No. 1. You don't want to lose some kid in that glorified practice."

Even with the unknown that lays ahead Hale said he looks forward to this time of the year.

"But now is the fun time of the year," Hale said. "Games start and it just seems like the Fridays just fly by and the season is over."