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Football Trojans host Marshall for Homecoming

It turns out that St. Peter is better than its 0-2 start to the 2021 high school football season. Marshall is also better than its 0-2 start. The big question facing the Worthington Trojans revolves around their 0-3 start. Are they better than that?

WORTHINGTON -- It turns out that St. Peter is better than its 0-2 start to the 2021 high school football season. Marshall is also better than its 0-2 start.

The big question facing the Worthington Trojans revolves around their 0-3 start. Are they better than that?

The Trojans might get an answer to that question Friday night when they celebrate their Homecoming with a game against the Marshall Tigers. Game time is 7 p.m. at Trojan Field.

The long-time rival Tigers have dominated Worthington in recent years, winning 62-0 in 2015, 64-0 in 2016, 56-0 in 2017, 62-6 in 2018, 56-12 in 2019 and 22-6 last year. But then, they’ve dominated a lot of other opponents during that time, too.

As this season began, they looked very mortal, losing their first two games 27-7 to Fairmont and 19-7 to Waseca -- two ranked teams in Class AAA. But last Friday, the old Marshall Tigers bubbled to the surface in a 45-8 triumph over New Ulm.

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Worthington is coming off a 46-6 loss at St. Peter in a game where the Saints amassed 574 total yards. Running back Vinny Guappone rushed for 146 yards and caught passes for 105 all by himself. After losses 41-14 to Jordan and 57-20 to Pipestone Area the previous two weeks, the Trojans are anxious to show real improvement.

Head coach Geno Lais said the team is being steered back to fundamentals in an effort to turn it around.

“Some of those things improve if we execute better, and on offense, too,” Lais said this week. “If we execute, we can be a good football team.”

The team needs to tackle better, said Lais. Players have seemed a step late. And they’ve showed signs of being hesitant, not trusting their keys and reads.

A few good things have happened on the field. Quarterback Jake Brandner is one of the team’s best runners. He gained 94 yards in the Jordan game, and he was the leading rusher against St. Peter with 58 yards. He and his receivers are showing signs of a passing game that can begin to click.

Freshman Jacari Swinea ran 13 times for 150 yards against Pipestone Area. He was controlled in St. Peter. But fellow running back Anthony Dorcey had 53 yards rushing against Jordan and is capable of more.

Teams that are 0-3 can lose their competitive edge sometimes. But Lais doesn’t think that will happen with his team.

“No matter what our record says, I always say, ‘Let’s go 1-0 this week,” he said. “We can’t get to .500 in one week.”

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This Homecoming week brings both pluses and minuses to any football equation. When the opponent is Marshall, the emotions can be even more obvious.

“There can be some distractions, but you gotta use it as a positive. There’s going to be a big crowd there, so it should be a positive,” said Lais.

To compete on Friday, Lais said, Worthington will need to eliminate mistakes and be physical up front. And they’ll have to tackle. It’s basic. But fundamental football is what it’s about now.

Related Topics: FOOTBALL
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