TGU football undersized but unwilling to be overlooked

Alex Eisen/MDN The TGU Titans football teams goes through a tackling drill last week in Towner.

TOWNER — Self-described as undersized, the Towner/Granville/Upham football team enters the 2019 season with the presumption that other 9-man teams might underestimate them at first glance.

“We only want to work harder because we are smaller,” senior lineman Reese Mohagen said. “Yeah, we look a lot smaller on the field, but we can still get the job done.”

With only 22 kids on the roster, everyone has to play a part.

The Titans are embracing the challenge.

“We are adaptable,” senior quarterback Jared Lovro said. “We can all adapt to different positions. We are quality football players that can make plays anywhere.”

Exemplifying his own words, Lovro was a starting tight end and linebacker last season, as well as being the backup quarterback.

The graduation of running back Shayden Luna and quarterback Garrett Bailey leaves an undeniable void.

“We got quite a few kids who are capable of stepping in and filling some holes,” TGU head coach Ben Wollenzien said. “(Luna) was a four-year starter and an All-State kid a couple times. You don’t replace him. You hope to build towards that. He is a special kid.”

Junior Cody Frounfelter slots in as the next running back up, and is eager to keep TGU’s winning ways alive. The Titans have posted a winning record and made the playoffs the last 12 years.

“Winning the region is always the No. 1 goal,” Frounfelter said. “Things have been going pretty well so far. But, we are still adjusting to not having as many players as last year.”

Other offensive threats include sophomore tight end Blake Lund and junior wide receiver Cy Luna, Shayden’s younger brother.

Defensively, the Titans are hoping to carry over the end of last year’s form. In the final three games of the season, TGU posted two shutouts and lost 14-8 to Ray/Powers Lake in the second round of the playoffs.

“Our strength right now should be on the defensive side of the ball,” Wollenzien said. “Since we have a lot of kids who got some playing time there last year. Offensively, I think our offensive line and backfield will complement each other well.”

Alongside Mohagen, Wollenzien also pointed out junior lineman Aidan McMahon and junior fullback Brodey Keller as possible impact players.

“No one out here is really big, but we will have enough speed to keep up,” Mohagen said. “With us older kids on the team, we can lead pretty well. We can get the (younger players) to do what we want them to do. They’re really good listeners.”

TGU travels to Trenton to open the season at 7 p.m. Friday.

Trenton, like TGU, joins the newly reshaped 9-man Region 3 this season. The region also includes Lewis & Clark/Berthold, Divide County, MLS, Parshall, Ray, Surrey and Central McLean.

Alex Eisen covers Minot State athletics, the Minot Minotauros and high school sports. Follow him on Twitter @AEisen13.