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Prep football: Trojans dominate New Ulm

Worthington's Emmett Bickett (21) tackles New Ulm Eagles quarterback Nolan Drill (10) in Friday's high school football game in Worthington. The Trojans won, 43-7. (Tim Middagh / The Globe)1 / 2
Terbuto Ochothow (5) of the Worthington Trojans picks up a block from Adam Russell (70) and outruns the New Ulm defense for a touchdown Friday. (Tim Middagh / The Globe)2 / 2

WORTHINGTON -- Dominant on both sides of the football, the Worthington Trojans earned their first win of the 2018 season Friday night by a convincing 43-7 score.

The Trojans wasted not a moment in asserting full control over visiting New Ulm, outscoring the Eagles 22-0 in the first quarter and taking a 29-0 lead into halftime.

“We just looked forward to this week,” said senior running back/linebacker Emmett Bickett, who slashed through the porous New Ulm defense repeatedly en route to large chunks of yardage. “Even with the rain, these last two practices we had on Wednesday and Thursday were probably the best two practices we had all year.

“I think most of the team was dialed in. Everybody wanted it pretty bad.”

Still believing in themselves after last week’s 42-7 setback against Jordan, head coach Gene Lais’ squad seemed to do everything right. Defensively, they held the Eagles’ offense to no first downs in the first quarter. Offensively, they executed passing plays and running plays smartly and to great effect. Lais praised special teams, too. Quarterback Will Brandner did not forget to put a plug in for the line play.

“Both sides of the line controlled the game for us. The loss to Jordan, if anything, just motivated us to be better,” Brandner said.

For New Ulm, Friday’s game started horribly.

Upon receiving the opening kickoff, the Eagles set up at their own 21-yard line, but a bad snap in shotgun formation resulted in a sack all the way to the 5. On the next play, another shotgun snap was mishandled and the play resulted in a safety.

Following New Ulm’s punt, Worthington went on a 54-yard six-play scoring drive. Terbuto Ochothow ran for 13 yards on first down and, later in the drive, Austin Svalland picked up a first down on a fourth-and-two situation. On the next play, Ochothow motored 28 yards for the score. An extra point try from Robert Ortiz was partially blocked, but WHS still led 8-0 with 8:28 remaining in the first quarter.

The next score came following a Svalland interception of a Nolan Drill pass, which set the Trojans up at the New Ulm 22. On the first play from there, Brandner connected on a touchdown pass to a wide-open Karasharo Ojulo in the left corner of the end zone.

Only seconds remained in the first quarter when the Trojans scored again, this time on a 33-yard interception return by Bickett. Ortiz connected on his second extra point and the score was 22-0.

Not finished, Svalland scored on a 2-yard run with 10:10 remaining in the second quarter. The drive covered 38 yards, coming after a Svalland fumble recovery in the New Ulm backfield.

Still before halftime, Ortiz attempted a 45-yard field goal. It was no good, but by this time the Trojans felt they could do no wrong.

New Ulm surprised Worthington with a successful onside kick to open the second half, but again the Eagles could not get their offense in sync against an aggressive WHS defense. Taking over on downs at their own 33, the Trojans reeled off a 13-yard carry from Bickett. Then it was Bickett again on the very next play, rambling into the end zone from 54 yards out.

The home team scored one more time on a 2-yard fullback carry from Hunter Boomgarden with 6:57 remaining in the third stanza. Ortiz booted his fifth point-after.

New Ulm’s only score came with 2:28 remaining in the third when a fumble in the Worthington backfield was scooped up by Drill and returned 37 yards to paydirt.

Throughout the game, the Trojans displayed an infectious enthusiasm for football -- an enthusiasm for hitting, for blocking, and for doing all the things that good football teams do.

Bickett said that, yes, he and his teammates do like to play this game.

“You can’t do it in the classroom,” he said.

Coach Lais said his team looked ready all week, and the results proved him right.

“We had a really good week of practice, even with the rain. Even in the Jordan game, they worked really hard. They’ve got a lot of confidence right now,” he said.

The Trojans will need that confidence next week when they travel to play the Marshall Tigers.

Win or lose, Lais believes there’s a special-ness to this 2018 WHS squad.

“We talked about us maybe being special, that we have special players. But they always have to bring the effort and the intensity,” he said.

New Ulm 0 0 7 0 -- 7Worthington 22 7 14 0 -- 43
Doug Wolter

Doug Wolter is the Daily Globe sports editor. He served as sports reporter, then sports editor, news editor and finally managing editor at the Daily Globe for 22 years before leaving for seven years to work as night news editor at the Mankato Free Press in Mankato. Doug now lives in Worthington with his wife, Sandy. They have three children and seven grandchildren. Doug, retired after a lengthy career in fast-pitch softball, enjoys reading, strumming his acoustic guitar and hanging around his grandchildren. He also writes books on fiction. Two of his stories, "The Genuine One" and "The Old Man in Section 129" have been distributed through a national publisher.

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