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Worthington-JCC tilt sure to be another tight clash

WORTHINGTON -- Worthington head football coach Dennis Hale has said that he would like to see the Trojans improve each week. Thus far, the Trojans (2-1) have met his expectations.

WORTHINGTON -- Worthington head football coach Dennis Hale has said that he would like to see the Trojans improve each week. Thus far, the Trojans (2-1) have met his expectations.

Following an 8-0 victory over Redwood Valley in Week 2, the Trojans posted another shutout against St. Peter in Week 3 -- a 27-0 victory. With No. 2-ranked Jackson County Central coming into town tonight, the Trojans will face their stiffest test yet.

"We were very pleased with our defensive effort against St. Peter last week," Hale said Thursday afternoon. "It was also nice to get more than eight points on the board -- a real boost of confidence. This week, it's going to be crucial to hang in there with Jackson."

The senior-laden Huskies come into tonight's game boasting a 3-0 record. Averaging 29 points a game offensively, the Huskies have had to make some adjustments in their attack.

"We expected Marcus to get about 25 touches per game for us this season," JCC head coach Tom Schuller said of injured senior running back Marcus Schultz. "With Marcus out for the season, we've had to spread the touches out to three separate players: Caleb Lines, Torey Stewart and Jordan Lewis."

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Each of the three running backs scored at least once last week as the Huskies rushed for 201 yards against Blue Earth Area in a 39-12 victory. But it isn't the backs that Hale is concerned about entering the game. It's the offensive line.

"They have a big, physical offensive line," Hale said. "We have to get rid of those guys -- not so much get a good push forward, but not get blown back.

Schuller also has his concerns defensively. He points to Worthington's offensive schemes being tough to defend, and hopes to contain the Trojans quarterback, Quentin Dudley.

"The schemes Worthington runs are very tough on defensive ends -- very difficult to defend," Schuller said. "We will have to work very hard on defense, contain their quarterback and be quick to find (Nate) Stoll. He's quite a talent."

The Huskies' defense has allowed a scant 9.7 points per contest and had seven interceptions against Blue Earth Area last week. While it appears that JCC's pass defense is in good shape, Hale isn't sure how well they'll defend against the run.

"It's hard to tell where they stand against the run," Hale said. "The game film we watched was against Blue Earth, which uses a spread offense and throws the ball a lot."

The Trojans have been no slouch defensively either, allowing just 13 points per contest. That figure, of course, is deceiving because those points came in the 39-8 season-opening loss against the Pipestone Area Arrows. With shutouts over the last two weeks, the Trojans are primed for another outstanding defensive effort.

The Huskies have quickly jumped out of the gate this season, while the Trojans have made steady progress. Prognosticators might give the edge to the Huskies, but history has shown that in this matchup, records don't mean a thing.

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"Each year, this game is a close contest and I expect this year to be no different," Hale said. "One team could be 5-0 and the other 1-4, but it's always close. It seems that it usually comes down to the final series. One thing is for sure, it's going to be a physical game."

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