Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Wildcats, Trojans Highlight Week 1 ; Trojans: Meeting Marks First Matchup since 2013

Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Wildcats, Trojans Highlight Week 1 ; Trojans: Meeting Marks First Matchup since 2013

Article excerpt

Both Hayden and Topeka High had to replace several key players from last year's football teams that were a combined 18-4 and Wildcat coach Bill Arnold and the Trojans' Walt Alexander know there's going to be mistakes made in Friday's city game of the week (7 p.m. kickoff) at Hayden.

But after nearly three weeks of preseason practice, Arnold and Alexander agree that the time has come to see what they have, warts and all.

"It's time to play somebody," said Arnold, whose Wildcats went 10- 2 and advanced to the Class 4A Division I semifinals last fall. "It's time to lay the foundation right now, get out and see where you are and see what we need to build on after this.

"That first game's always going to be crazy. There's going to be some really crazy and stupid things that take place and a lot of it comes down to how you handle some of that stuff."

Alexander, whose Trojans were 8-2 in '15, said he and his staff are also eager to get things started.

"We're absolutely ready for a game," Alexander said. "Good or bad the kids need to play because that's why they've worked so hard for so long. They're ready to play.

"It's such an uneasy feeling for all of the coaching staff because you never know where you're at. I think every coach feels like that across the state. We know we've worked hard, we know we've got some good kids but until we see us in action we don't know where we're at. That's why this first game is so valuable. You can fix so many things."

Hayden and Topeka High will be meeting for the first time since '13, when the Trojans took a 25-20 victory.

Topeka High graduated All-City Top 11 picks Mike McCoy, Teven Jenkins and Jacob Anderson, but the Trojans return All-City quarterback Corey Thomas to build around. Thomas accumulated 1,932 yards of total offense last fall.

Topeka High senior defensive back Stephaun Carter was the city defensive newcomer of the year last fall.

Hayden graduated All-City Top 11 picks Brooks Peavler, Connor Schumacher and Will Stringer, but return All-City defensive lineman Jake Heit. Heit was in on 105 tackles with eight sacks last season. …

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