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Trojans tasked with stopping potent offense

WORTHINGTON -- A week after winning its first game of the season, the Worthington Trojan football team will try to win its second game in a row tonight.

Last week, the Trojans (1-2 overall, 1-1 in conference) defeated the Windom Eagles 26-12 in a Southwest Conference match-up.

"I think we got better again. That's my main thought," Worthington head coach Dennis Hale said. "It was a conference game and a conference win, so that was good. I think just the main thing for these guys is they needed a win to get some confidence and believe in what we're doing. We got that done, so let's see where it leads us."

The victory will lead the Trojans against Brandon Valley, S.D., tonight at Trojan field.

The Lynx enter the game 3-1 and fresh off a 19-0 victory over Brookings last week in BV's homecoming game.

"We've never played them, but I expect that they are very good," Hale said. "I think they were picked to possibly be the big school champion in South Dakota."

The Lynx received votes in the class AA polls this week. Their only loss came at the hands of Watertown, which is rated fourth in the same class.

"They have a number of kids on their defensive line that have been recruited by D2, maybe a D1 school, so they have some excellent prospects," Hale said. "Their running back and their quarterback look terrific. I've been told they are great athletes, so Brandon has a very good team."

BV is led by sophomore quarterback Austin Sumner and senior running back Michael Bellmore. Both will create problems for the Trojan defense.

"They have a terrific running back," Hale said. "He's small, but very fast. Somehow, we have to contain him and not let him get out. He looks like once he's in the open, we don't have anybody that can catch him. He ran away from Brookings a couple of times, and I'm sure Brookings had some very good athletes in their secondary, so he's a real problem. Their quarterback is an excellent passer and an excellent runner."

The 5'7" Bellmore had 232 yards on 23 carries last week against Brookings.

However, the Trojan defense has stood up to the test so far this season. Worthington is allowing just more than 10 points a game this season and has faced many different formations.

"We have played well (defensively), but tomorrow is just a huge test," Hale said.

After facing two run-dominant teams in Fairmont and Windom and a more wide open attack of Pipestone Area, the Lynx will run a multifaceted offense.

"They have multiple formations," Hale said. "If you look at the film, the first 10 plays are hardly ever the same formation. They're going to spread you out, but they are going to bunch up when they need to and run it."

On the defensive side of the ball, John Mead, Tommy Mammen and Mitchell Jensen will be key to stopping a powerful Lynx offense.

"Defensively, I think John Mead has been very good this year. Now, he has a huge challenge against these guys," Hale said. "We asked Tommy Mammen to go from a defensive end to an interior player, and he did a very good job. Mitch Jensen had a huge game against Windom. It's fun to see a young guy grow into his role."

Offensively, the Trojans are coming off one of their best games of the year. However, even with the progress, Hale said there is still a lot of room for improvement.

"I think we learn each week things that we should be doing," Hale said. "I think it's a process. I don't know if we can get where we want to be right now yet. We've been under the center for me, as a head coach, for 33 years. So now all of the sudden, we're shot gun the whole time."

Quarterbacks Mike Vorwald and Kyle Vaske have split time this season, and Hale said that should continue.

"I don't go into a game saying that so-and-so is going to play x amount of plays," he said. "Last week, we were able to start throwing the ball and having a little more success with Kyle, so we stayed with that. In another game, that might change."

Vaske ended the game 16-of-26 for 200 yards and two touchdowns through the air. Vorwald threw only six passes, but was a vital option as a receiver. He has five receptions on the year for 86 yards.

However, both players have their own strengths while taking snaps.

"Michael is more of a threat to run, but he threw a nice touchdown to Tommy Mammen, which keeps the defenses honest," Hale said. "Kyle is more of a pure passer. He has a nice delivery and throws a good ball. I think throughout the year, we're going to make use of both of them."

The Trojans have improved from week to week, but will need to continue to improve against BV.

"I was hoping that we'd start at a higher level," Hale said. "I do think we played better against Pipestone than we did against Fairmont, and I think we played better against Windom than we did against Pipestone. Now, we play a team that on paper, is the best team we've played yet. That's a huge challenge for us."