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Prep football: Turnovers hurt WHS again in 47-0 loss to Waseca

BY AARON HAGEN The Globe WORTHINGTON -- The turnover bug has bitten Worthington hard the last two games. After committing seven turnovers in a victory last week against Albert Lea, the WHS football team had trouble again Wednesday night against a...

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Worthington Trojans ball carrier Emmett Bickett (21) runs up the middle on the punt return in Wednesday's high school football game against the Waseca Bluejays. (Tim Middagh/The Globe)

BY AARON HAGEN

The Globe

WORTHINGTON -- The turnover bug has bitten Worthington hard the last two games.

After committing seven turnovers in a victory last week against Albert Lea, the WHS football team had trouble again Wednesday night against a tough Waseca team.

The Trojans committed eight turnovers in a 47-0 loss.

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“We have to clean up the turnovers and take care of the ball,” WHS head coach Gene Lais said. “Hopefully we take care of that and get that cleaned up.”

The Bluejays’ Justin Sampson was the main benefactor of the Trojan miscues. He finished with five interceptions.

“We wanted to put a good show on today. But I don’t think we were prepared and ready to go tonight,” Lais said. “But the second half, we responded and played hard. Defensively, I thought we played pretty hard all night.”

It was a quick start for the Waseca offense and Saiveon Williamson scored a 60-yard touchdown on the game’s third play.

“It was kind of the way we started last week at Albert Lea, too,” Lais said. “We turned the ball over early and didn’t get off to a good start. It digs you a hole right away. You’re down 7-0 before two minutes into the game. It’s hard to dig yourself out of that hole.”

After each team punted, the Bluejays turned a Worthington fumble into a 14-yard touchdown run by Joe Hagen (12 rushes, 130 yards).

Waseca scored for the third time late in the first quarter. Quarterback Hunter Rodriguez threw the ball up for Malik Willingham, who made a one-handed catch in the end zone.

Waseca scored once in the second as Williamson (eight rushes, 97 yards) scored a 4-yard touchdown.

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The Trojans had their best drive of the first half late in the second quarter. With a mix of running by Ethan Pavelko and Austin Svalland and passing of Logan Huisman, the Trojans marched down inside the Bluejays’ 10-yard line. However, the drive stalled, and a 26-yard field goal attempt missed the mark.

Rodriguez threw a 15-yard touchdown pass to Jack Vetsch in the third quarter and Williamson scored his third touchdown of the game to give the Bluejays a 41-0 advantage. Hagen rumbled in from 26 yards out in the fourth for the game’s final score.

However, the Trojans had another chance to score late in the game. Behind a 37-yard run by Emmett Bickett (six rushes, 52 yards), Worthington marched once again deep in Bluejay territory. However, the drive stalled inside the 5-yard line.

“I still think we’re a good team,” Lais said. “I still think we’re a dangerous team. We can be somebody that’s not a pushover once we get to the playoffs. We’re excited about that. That’s part of what we talked about right now, turning the page and going to the next chapter.”

That next chapter will begin soon as the Trojans start section playoffs on Tuesday.

“We have to start over,” Lais said. “That chapter is done. We’ll come back now and compete and be ready to go.”

Waseca 21 6 14 6 -- 47Worthington 0 0 0 0 -- 0

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