Head Coach: Luke Standiford (3rd season)
Career Record: 9-10
Conference: Sangamon Valley
Last Playoff: Class 3A First Round, 2018
Best Playoff: Class 3A Second Round, 1983
2019 Record: 3-6
3/20 1 p.m. @Walter Christian
3/26 7 p.m. Iroquois West
4/3 2 p.m. Central
4/9 7 p.m. @Paxton-Buckley-Loda
4/16 7 p.m. Seneca
4/23 7 p.m. @Momence
After making the playoffs in 2018 under first-year head coach Luke Standiford Dwight followed it up with an underwhelming season in 2019 where the Trojans finished just 3-6. Now, in his third season, coach Standiford is planning to evolve Dwight’s long-standing tradition of being a run-heavy offense in order to turn things back around.
“I’d anticipate our offense transitioning into not being so reliant on running the ball every play,” Standiford said. “We're going to mix it up with the passing game a lot more this season.”
The reason for the subtle change to the Trojans offensive scheme is to take more advantage of the talents of quarterback Carson Crouch. He saw plenty of snaps at quarterback in a wildcat role last season but will air be a more conventional signal-caller this spring.
“We are a definitely a run heavy team, but we also want to transition into having the ability to throw the football a little bit more and effectively,” Standiford said. “I think we'll have the kids to do it with Crouch at quarterback this season.”
Crouch will look to add to a strong 2019 campaign where he totaled 1,289 yards and 16 touchdowns on the ground with a strong offensive line that have spent the last couple of years together in the trenches.
“Four of our five offensive lineman are seniors and the other one is a junior who’s been starting on the offensive line since he’s been a freshman,” Standiford said. “So our line is really solid.”
The Trojans offensive line will consist of seniors Abe Rieke (left tackle) Jack Gallet (left guard), Andrew Kapper (center), Hudson Beier (guard) and Malaki Slaughter (right tackle). The experienced big men will ease Sam Edwards' move as he makes the transition from tight end to the squad’s starting fullback.
Dwight added some much needed talent on the outside as well. Look for sophomore wideout Jack Duffy to make some noise in the slot with his quick-twitch speed.
As for the defensive side, the Trojans are ready to leap forward with Chuck Butterbrodt taking over as the team’s new defensive coordinator. Butterbrodt will lean on Edwards, who finished as the Sangamon Valley Conference leader in tackles last season with 65 combined wrap-ups at middle linebacker.
With so much talented experience back and at least seven starters back on each side of the ball, Standiford doesn't see why the Trojans can't be the last champions in Sangamon Valley Conference history but also knows that in such a drastically different season, that isn't necessarily the top priority either.
“With the majority of our team returning from last year, we have high expectations for the 2021 season,” Standiford said. “Given the circumstances we are under right now with COVID-19, our biggest goal is to stay healthy.
“Our next goal is to win every game and go 6-0.”