Girard aims to build off first playoff win since 2016

The Trojans are aiming to maintain momentum from last season.

GIRARD, Kan. – The Girard Trojans are coming off their first playoff win since 2016.

“Those last two games, we won the turnover battle and that’s something we can build on this year,” head coach Neal Philpot says of the end of the 2020 season, ‘It does give you some confidence coming in, but it’s a new team. We lost a lot of parts from that team, but we have a good group coming back.”

“It’s a lot of motivation to get back out there and show them what we can do again,” says senior RB/LB Ethan Merrell.

“Seeing that some of those simple things that you can take care yourself can help you win games and be in competitive games, that’s something we can build off of,” Philpot adds.

The Trojans have six starters back on each side of the ball from last year’s team: TE/LB Ethan Troike, WR/CB Gage Davenport, RB/LB Ethan Merrell, QB/FS Luke Niggemann, RB/LB Alex Coester and OL/DL Cordell Searan.

Their experience lies mostly at the skill positions heading into the fall.

“We’ve got quite a few skill guys that at least saw some playing time for us last year,” Philpot says, “It was an interesting year with COVID and quarantines. They kind of had to earn their stripes maybe before they were ready.”

It’s the interior on each side where Girard will have the most new faces.

“Things are going great. We have a new line this year that’s ready to compete,” Merrell says, “We’re just ready to play in our jamboree this Friday.”

“We’ve got some parts there. Our offensive and defensives lines are going to be green, but willing,” Philpot says of the guys up front, “I think they’ve bought into what we’re trying to do. They’ll be aggressive. I’ve told them they will probably be under-sized in every game they play. They have to be technicians and do things the right way and play hard.”

Girard plays in a tough league and a good district.

They’re hoping to take another step forward this fall – and compete with the best of the best on their schedule.

“Those teams that have been at the top tier, we want to get to that point where we’re knocking some of them off,” Philpot says, “I feel like we’re getting closer each year, but we have to build on what we’ve got. We have a chance to be decent if we take care of things and continue to work each week.”>