Trojans football season just around the corner

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WORTHINGTON -- This is the time to daydream if you’re a Worthington Trojans football fan.

The 2018 season is weeks away. A one-week July training camp is on the books. What’s gonna happen when the team dons pads for real?

Gene Lais, in his third year as the WHS football head coach, is hoping to improve on last year’s 2-7 record. But he’ll have to do it without graduated All-Big South Conference selections Tyler Linder, Nathan Boneschans and Marcos Herrera.

Graduations, of course, are natural high school occurrences. But Lais likes what he’s seen of the 2018 team thus far.

“Got a nice start on installing our offense and defense. Had a nice turnout,” he noted about the summer camp. “Kind of fun to see what they remember.”

Worthington’s core group of athletes appears to center around three-year starter Austin Svalland (linebacker), along with Turner Rogers (TE-LB), Lucas Boever (WR-DB), Emmett Bickett (RB-LB) and Will Brandner (QB). However, there is just one returning starter back from the offensive line (Adam Russell), so Trojan coaches will still have plenty of work to do once fall practices begin on Monday.

Two new assistant coaches, Jake Ludemann and Casey Hertz, are joining the program. Both played college football.

A total of 77 players between grades 9-12 came to the team’s preseason meeting. Lais hopes to have 65 to 70 in camp next week.

Freshman and sophomore numbers are good, and Lais says there’s good quality among the juniors and seniors.

More reason for optimism: There was good turnout this summer in the weight room.

“They look stronger, they look better, the ones that showed up for lifting. Another nice thing, you see how the young ones are developing,” Lais pointed out.

“Success is wins and losses. You can also measure success off the field,” Lais said. “But you still want wins. You want to see their hard work in the summer pay off.”