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Trojans dump New Ulm for first football win of season, 35-27

On the last night of the regular season, the Worthington Trojans built a 35-7 lead over New Ulm and secured their first victory

The Worthington Trojans bench applauds the defense during Wednesday night's Trojan Field game with New Ulm.
The Worthington Trojans bench applauds the defense during Wednesday night's Trojan Field game with New Ulm.
Tim Middagh/The Globe
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WORTHINGTON -- They’d had enough of losing, so the Worthington Trojans dominated visiting New Ulm through for three and a half quarters for their first victory of the 2022 football season Wednesday night.

On the last night of the regular season, which was also Seniors Night and Meet the Trojans Night for the WHS squad, the Trojans scored 28 unanswered points to take a 35-7 lead over the Eagles en route to a 35-27 triumph.

“Awesome, man,” said senior linebacker Nasim Zeidi. “It’s a long time coming. I’m proud of my guys and how they battled out there.”

The win advanced Worthington’s record to 1-7 heading into the postseason, which begins on Tuesday. New Ulm falls to 2-6.

Worthington offensive lineman Ryan Lais (87) blocks New Ulms Preston Holber (4) creating a gap for Trojans  Abagotte Opiew (5) to dive through for his second Touchdown of the Game against the visiting Eagles Wednesday night.
Worthington offensive lineman Ryan Lais (87) blocks New Ulm's Preston Holber (4), creating a gap for Abagotte Opiew (5) to dive for his second touchdown of the game Wednesday night.
Tim Middagh/The Globe

Before Wednesday’s contest, Trojans head coach Geno Lais said the coaching staff challenged the players to challenge themselves for the last regular season game. And they did exactly that, Zeidi said.

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“He put it on us seniors,” declared Zeidi.

Worthington then played an outstanding game on both sides of the football. Senior Abagotte Opiew, who alternated with junior Tucker Brandner in the quarterback position, made many excellent running plays behind an offensive line that broke holes in the New Ulm defense regularly. Sophomore running back Jacari Swinea also had some impressive carries.

“Our run game was great. We put in that Geronimo play (three backs in the backfield). And we did it all game,” said Zeidi, the All-District Linebacker of the Year as a junior.

Worthington Trojans Marenono Opiew (6) takels New Ulm Eagles running back  Ty Frederick (36) during Wednesday night's game at Trojan Field.
Worthington's Marenono Opiew (6) tackles New Ulm Eagles running back Ty Frederick (36).
Tim Middagh/The Globe

Worthington’s defense, too, was up to the challenge. The Trojans gave up two fourth quarter touchdowns to New Ulm when the game was essentially decided. Then when the coaches let the clock stop on a Worthington possession with only seconds remaining deep in WHS territory to get some defensive reserves on the field, the Eagles scored again with five seconds remaining. But by then the victory celebration was keyed up.

“They’re good kids. They worked hard,” said Lais afterward. “We played well tonight. We played well out front. We played with confidence, and we prepared well. We played good on defense and we played better on offense. We did a lot of good things tonight.”

Worthington scored first with 3:56 showing on the first quarter clock when Opiew rambled 51 yards for a TD on a 4th-and-4 play. Triston Sauerbrei booted the first of five extra points.

Worthington Trojans Abagotte Opiew (5) is tangled up by New Ulm Eagles Preston Holberg (4) and Cameron Carpenter (12) but not before picking up long yards and a first down during Wednesday night's game.
Abagotte Opiew (5) is tangled up by New Ulm Eagles Preston Holberg (4) and Cameron Carpenter (12), but not before picking up a long gain.
Tim Middagh/The Globe

New Ulm answered at 9:18 in the second quarter on a 19-yard Ayden Jansen carry, completing a 40-yard drive.

But the Trojans scored again with 3:25 to go till halftime when Opiew took the snap and ran six yards through the middle of the Eagles defense. WHS went into intermission with the lead for the first time this fall.

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Starting at their own 33-yard line to begin the second half, the Trojans got some strong running from Opiew and Swinea (with Swinea taking some direct snaps) to get deep into New Ulm territory. On a 4th-and-5 play at the 14, Sauerbrei set up for a field goal, but due to a poor snap Brandner picked up the ball and passed it to Ryan Lais for a first down at the 5. On the next play, Opiew ran it in.

The game looked like a rout when Worthington scored the first two touchdowns of the fourth quarter. Opiew had a 54-yard run brought back due to a penalty, but on the very next play Swinea outraced the New Ulm defense 81 yards down the left sideline for a score with 11:30 to play. The Trojans added to their lead after an interception by Zeidi, which set the hosts up again at the Eagles’ 20. Opiew got the score on an 11-yard carry.

The fact that New Ulm scored the last three touchdowns -- all three of them on carries by junior running back Ty Frederick -- didn’t sap Worthington’s post-game celebration in the least.

“It’s very special,” said Zeidi, “to do it in front of our fans and everybody that cheered us on.”

New Ulm 0 7 0 21 -- 27

Worthington 7 7 7 14 -- 35

Related Topics: FOOTBALLWORTHINGTON TROJANS
Doug Wolter joined the Worthington Globe in December of 1983 as a sports reporter. He later became sports editor, and then news editor and managing editor. In 2006 he moved to Mankato with his wife, Sandy, and served as an editor at the Mankato Free Press. In 2013 he and Sandy returned to Worthington to take up the job of sports editor at The Globe, and they have been in Worthington since.

Doug can be reached at dwolter@dglobe.com.
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Trailing at halftime, the Worthington High School girls basketball team outscored Albert Lea 49-27 in the second half Thursday night in Worthington
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