Boys of fall tackling the challenge of 2020 season

Boys+of+fall+tackling+the+challenge+of+2020+season

Grayson Joslin, Editor

When fireworks go off on Friday nights, it means that it is time for football in Trojan Country.

The 2020 season has already begun for the New Castle Trojan football team. The starting line-up is mostly made up of seniors who make up this first class to go through the high school program with head coach Kyle York. This senior-laden collective has learned and matured from last year, where some of the seniors were in their first year in the starting lineup. The seniors on this team now have the experience to put together a strong campaign.

The season was originally supposed to have nine games, but their opening two games against Franklin County and Rushville were cancelled due to COVID-19 affecting the team. The current global pandemic has impacted the players’ mindsets for the current season.

“COVID has affected my mindset by creating worries that any game could be my last,” Junior Kyle Gabbard said.

“It has definitely put everything into perspective and really shown that not everything is guaranteed, so it has really motivated me to play every play like it’s my last,” Senior Jace Logston said.

They arranged to have their 2020 season opener with 1A Indianapolis Tindley on August 29, beating the Tigers handily in a 41-0 shutout for their first victory of the 2020 season. The Trojans’ first conference test came against sectional foe Pendleton Heights on September 4. This low-scoring affair held the Arabians, who were sectional runners-up last year, scoreless in the first 3 quarters. In front of a reverent and roaring home crowd and student section, the Trojan defense came up with clutch stops in the last two minutes of regulation to force the game into overtime. The Trojans eventually lost the game, but this contest highlighted the Trojans’ mighty defense and their valor.

“The defense built some momentum that night,” Senior Jack Criswell said.

“The Pendleton Heights game was a statement saying, ‘This team isn’t like the past, we’re not going to roll over. We’re here to fight and win’,” Senior Dillon Floyd said.

The Trojans then bounced back from the overtime loss for their biggest shutout win in almost nine decades the next Friday, as they defeated Shelbyville 55-0 for their second shutout of the season on September 11. The potent Trojan defense again came to play, holding Shelbyville to negative rushing yards.

“We are a strong solid team, especially our defense,” Junior Cole Werking said.

The Trojans came back to Neal Field on September 18 and gained another victory, this time against Yorktown 39-13. The mighty Trojan defense was backed up by a powerful offense that fired on all cylinders. During this game, quarterback William Grieser moved into second all time in Trojan football history for touchdown passes. Past quarter Niah Willaimson is first with 53 touchdown passes with Grieser trailing at 36 overall.  It is definitely possible for Grieser to pass Williamson in his final year.

The Trojans have a demanding schedule ahead of them. The schedule includes Hoosier Heritage Conference contests against New Palestine, who are back-to-back defending state champions in 5A, and Mount Vernon, who are defending regional champions and also in the Trojans’ sectional. The Trojans’ sectional group includes conference rivals Pendleton Heights and the aforementioned Mount Vernon.

Jace Logston considered the October 2 game at Mount Vernon to be the most difficult game of the year. “They blew us out twice last year in the regular season and in sectionals, so I feel like we have something to prove,” he elaborated.

Gabbard also said that the Mount Vernon game would be the most challenging game of the regular season, saying that “in order to create a good show, we need to extremely hard and leave no room for error.”

With a close wire-to-wire contest against Pendleton, a skilled group of players, and a forceful defense that has already shutout two teams this season, the Trojans feel confident about their chances during the rest of the season.

“Our team’s goal is to be the best football team to come through New Castle,” Logston said. “To reach that goal, I will do my jobs to the best of my ability and lead by example.”

“The whole team needs to be locked in and chomping at the bit for every game to give it our all,” Junior Clay Joplin said. “If we let up at all, even on the ‘easy’ games, that attitude could bleed into the rest of our season.”

This season, the mean green fighting machine looks to play with tenacity and grit every single game, and the Trojans are going to go full throttle on their way to success.