FAIRMONT — With Friday night’s 7 p.m. kick-off at Mahoney Field less than 36 hours away, the burning question in the minds of prep football fans from both Fairmont (5-0) and Worthington (0-5) is the same.
“Will Zach Jorgensen be bottom centerwhen the Class AAA No. 2-ranked Cardinals play host to the Trojans in a South Central White District and Section 3AAA clash in Fairmont?”
“All I can tell you is that Jorgy is listed as day to day from a play status perspective,” Cardinals head coach Mat Mahoney said in reference to his 6-foot-4, 182-pound lead passer and rusher. “I’m not trying to mislead anyone, but at this point (Tuesday) we really don’t know if he will be ready to leave.
“His ankle seems to be getting better every day, but will he feel good enough to play? We won’t know until the game, to be honest.”
Jorgensen sat out last Friday night’s clash at New Ulm, and junior Brendan Schmidtke didn’t miss a step in filling his senior teammate’s boots from a passing perspective. Schmidtke completed 11 of 16 passes in his first varsity start for a game-best 255 yards and four touchdowns to lead Fairmont to a 35-6 win over the Eagles.
“It’s like I said last week, we (coaching staff and team) have every confidence in the world in Brendan to get the job done as quarterback,” said Mahoney. “Our offensive starting line (center Klay Brown, guarding Gavin Junkermeier and David Barrientos, tackling Sawyer Tordsen and Noah Rahm) did an excellent job last week with the pass protection, as they do every week, and gave Brendan the time he needed. successful.
“He (Schmidtke) made the right reads and threw the ball to the right spots, and we’ll be looking for the same thing this week.”
Worthington head coach Geno Lais expects a big challenge from his 4-3 defensive lineup – be it Jorgensen or Schmidtke taking the lead.
“When Jorgensen plays, he’s so athletic and can hurt you, both from a passing and running point of view,” he said. said Lais. “We are impressed with both the offensive and defensive lines of Fairmont, that’s where it all starts.
“You have to figure out how to block and stop them (Cardinal linemen) while also worrying about their fast players in (Hudson) Artz, (Eli) Anderson, (David) Maakestad and (Gavin) Rodning.”
Lais will turn to 6-3, 185-pound senior quarterback Jake Brandner to start the Trojans’ charge. Brandner and freshman running back Jacari Swinea will look for a running space behind an offensive wall averaging 237 pounds per blocker.
Left tackle Logan Barber (6-2, 220), left guard Octavio Flores (5-9, 260) and center Blake Luinenberg (5-10, 215) each return to finish work in the trenches for a second straight season while Lais received a welcome return to the roster from 6-4, 250-pound senior tackle Teyel Lowe.
“He (Lowe) hasn’t played football since eighth grade, so he’s still a little raw on the pitch, but he’s a great addition for us,” he said. said Lais. “His friends convinced him to come back for the sport and he’s having a blast.”
Mahoney expects Worthington to use his size in the trenches to help move the sticks.
“They are big up front on both sides of the scrimmage”, said Mahoney. “Their quarterback (Brandner) is good at extending plays. If his first reading isn’t there, he can get out of the bag and gain some yards for it.
“Defensively, we will see a four-man front for the first time, but my coaches will prepare our boys for anything they throw at us.”
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