2013 KHQA Barnstorm Tour: TRIOPIA TROJANS

"To not sugarcoat it, that's what we are. We have to play that type of football; we're going to have to pound, keep the ball in our hands, run the clock and wear opponents out,"

It's not fancy, and it's not pretty, but smashmouth football is just fine with those in Triopia country. The Trojans approach 2013 while making a slight shift in philosophy. Rich Thompson's group is moving away the 'big plays' they enjoyed from time to time last year, and instead pushing forward with a core of players built on brute strength.

"We're a lot bigger than we were last year, but we don't have the speed like we did with Derrek Schone. But we've got Matt Parker who is big and fast for his size and will lower his shoulder and hit you, and Dean Arendt will do the same thing,"

"We're going to try and keep pounding the ball so we can keep it out of the other team's hands and burn the clock as best as we can,"

Matt Parker and Dean Arendt fit the bill of power rushing for this team, but what opponents may notice first is that the offensive line fits the bill even more.

"We return a veteran group, even though a lot of them are still juniors, that's probably our most experienced unit. They're all ready to the point where they're talking so well in practice and understanding what each other is going to do. That gives the backs and quarterback a lot of confidence in those guys,"

Don't forget, the Trojans have a wealth of big-game experience to build from as well. In fact, this team's catalyst for success in 2013 may have happened last season, in a week 6 loss to Central-Southeastern.

"I think the seniors really brought us together and said we had to change something, and then practice turned around. I believe that if we don't lose that game, we don't go as far last season,"

"They really showed us what its like to be good leaders and winners, how to play football the right way,"

"Hopefully now they are the ones to be those type of leaders and help the other guys understand that that's the kind of commitment we're looking for,"

The Trojans know the demand of a WIVC schedule, so there won't be any looking ahead from this team. But the fact remains: even though the playbook may look a little different, Triopia's ceiling is remarkably high once again.

"Every team on our schedule is hard, and there are no games where you can go in and expect to blow somebody out. We come to practice every day and work our butts off knowing that everybody else is going to be great. I think it's coming along really well, actually,"