GIRARD — Despite hovering around the .500 mark in recent years, Girard has still been a regular in the postseason. Now, coming off a 5-4 campaign that included a trip to the Class 3A playoffs, third-year head coach Neal Philpot and his Trojans will be looking for continued success as they kick off the 2019 season.
“We were able to see some of our kids rise up in situations and compete,” Philpot said. “We are learning how to not settle for something. We are also learning how to prepare each week and show up every Friday night.”
Philpot will have plenty of holes to fill in the lineup after the loss of several players due to graduation. Returning this season are five two-way starters, including All-CNC Honorable Mention selections in seniors Wes Jahay (running back/free safety) and Durbie McReynolds (running back/cornerback). Also back are juniors Caden Lallemand (quarterback/linebacker), Kaden Harrison (tight end/linebacker) and Dee Wideman (offensive/defensive line).
“We may have more overall team speed, but we need to figure out how we can use that,” Philpot said.
The Trojans open the season with three straight games against CNC foes — home with Baxter Spring (Sept. 6) and Galena (Sept. 13) before hitting the road to Columbus (Sept. 20).
Class 3A-District 2 action gets started on Sept. 27 with a home game against Burlington. Three of the final four games will be on the road, including at Anderson County (Oct. 4), Prairie View (Oct. 11) and Osawatomie (Oct. 25). The final home game of the season is set for Oct. 18 against Iola.
“We want to play hard on every play and execute at a higher level,” Philpot said. “If we can do that, then we will win the games we are supposed to win and probably win at least one that we aren’t supposed to. That will be a successful season.”