Aug 25 – WORTHINGTON – Worthington High School football teams have different views on what success looks like.
The Trojan boys squad is determined to be a strong finisher. The Trojans simply want to become more competitive.
Both teams will start the autumn campaign 2021 on Thursday. The boys will receive Mankato Loyola in a regular season opener at 7 pm at Trojan Field. The girls travel to the Loyola game at 5 p.m.
A look at the teams:
The 2021 Trojans still have a burning desire to prove a point. Since that day they want to go back to the field.
“I think I’m including myself there,” said head coach Juan Flores. “As a team, we have a chip on our shoulder what happened.”
The Trojans were unbeaten when they met Kennedy at Trojan Field, which they all expected as a crowning moment and a harbinger of a state tournament ground. The loss of the 2A title was as breathtaking as it was unexpected. Flores recently said that some of the players put this medal in their rooms for second place and looked at each other every day – as motivation.
The good news for WHS is that the guys have an excellent team on paper again. There is a large and talented senior class that includes midfielders Menkem Mehri, Ulises Barrera and Mir Gossom, as well as defenders Dalen Gonzalez, Isaiah Noble, Omar Fernandez and Edgar Carillo. Second year Jonathan Banegas is one of the top scorers.
Last fall, Worthington was the state’s second best team for goals-on-average. There should be more of them this year.
“We will have a solid defense. That will definitely be a strength. But we will also have a lot of guys who can attack for us, who can score,” said Flores. “We will stick with what we do.”
Team speed is a perk that Worthington can use to wear down his opponents. The aim is to apply pressure and get possession of the ball quickly when the Trojans don’t have it.
The story goes on
Weakness? “I like to think we have no weaknesses,” said Flores. “As long as we stay focused.”
It has been difficult for the WHS girls to win in the last few seasons. Every year begins with the hope of progress.
“We’re looking forward to this season. We’ll change our defense,” said veteran head coach Emily Ahlquist. “For the past eight or nine years we’ve had a four-flat defense. And this year we’re going to be moving to a diamond defense.”
In short, that is, instead of creating a line of defenders on the field of play, they are lined up in the shape of a diamond – with one defender facing forward and another facing back – to limit outliers.
Unlike their Trojan boys, the Trojan girls have no speed as strength. But they have several experienced players.
Senior Sofia Montoya, a midfielder and midfielder, is adept at finding the strikers. Senior Pamela Lomeli is a “stopper” on the defensive and a good communicator. Other top players are Junior Jeidy Chavez and Senior Jessinia Muniz in the front positions as well as the Seniors Chantel Peralta and Jenny Perez in goal.
Worthington has downgraded its entire defensive line from 2020, so the successors must develop quickly. On the offensive, Ahlquist believes that more goals can be scored.
“Our goal is to really work on moving and moving as a team on the field and realizing that the work is not done when the ball is out of our feet,” said the coach.