Denfeld News

Aug. 30, 2010
Duluth Budgeteer News

Football trumps fashion for Central-Denfeld Trojans
By Louie St. George

Duluth Central’s football team (informally the Central-Denfeld Trojans) is a group unhindered by fashion — which is why the team has embraced a color scheme that meshes Central’s red and black with Denfeld’s maroon and gold. Tuesday, on a blustery evening at Central High School, the team sported gold pants, red jerseys and maroon helmets.

Aesthetically pleasing? Hardly. Practical? Yes, indeed.

It is, perhaps, a worthy outfit for the Trojans, this hodgepodge of colors. Their offensive philosophy isn’t all that sexy, either. Coach Chris Vold isn’t hiding the secret to his team’s attack. The Trojans will rely heavily on a talented collection of running backs while working out of an I-formation offense.

“It’s not real flashy,” Vold said. “It’s not rocket science what we’re gonna do.”

Again, though, it sure is practical. That’s because the backfield options include — among others — senior fullbacks C.J. Ham and Joe Janchar, along with junior tailbacks Nate Beaulieu and Graham Whiting.

Ham, a 6-foot, 240-pound rock, led Denfeld to within a game of the state playoffs in 2009. With a blend of brute strength and deceptive speed, he tallied 1,135 rushing yards and scored 15 touchdowns. At first glance, Ham doesn’t look like a running back capable of ripping off big gains. Looks can be deceiving, and Ham, who said his fastest time in the 40-yard dash is an impressive 4.8 seconds, has shown a penchant for the big play.

Still, he prefers contact and swatting aside would-be tacklers.

“Just run hard and run low, and not let one man tackle me,” said Ham, who has attracted the interest of a bevy of elite Division II programs, including the University of Minnesota Duluth. “I take a lot of pride in that. That’s my main objective, and then just hold onto the ball, make sure I don’t fumble and just get the first down.”

Janchar is another solidly built weapon for Vold’s run-first offense. The senior isn’t sweating the infusion of talented ball-carriers, even if it means fewer rushing attempts.

“I think we have a good rotation of guys, which is nice. Competition is good,” Janchar said. “It pushes the other guy. We’re all fighting for our spot.”

For Vold, it’s a nice problem to have. He isn’t worried about keeping each running back happy with a specific number of touches each game. Instead, he expects the situation to work itself out. Whoever has the hot hand will get the bulk of the carries.

“We’ll just kind of feel it out and see who’s gonna rise to the top,” Vold said.

Central opens the season against Hermantown at Public School Stadium Sept. 3. Interestingly, the team has yet to be classified by the Minnesota State High School League. Both Central and Denfeld were in Class AAAA in 2009.

Currently, Central would classify as an AAAAA school — by approximately 15 students. The MSHSL will conduct its official head count during the second week of school.

Vold admitted his preference is to be one of the larger AAAA schools. Either way, Janchar and his teammates are anticipating a successful campaign. They may not be the best dressed, but they’re happy to put football before fashion: “We have the potential to be very good,” Janchar said.

One thing that came up at Central on Tuesday was which school song the team will sing this fall following a win. Will it be Central’s school song or Denfeld’s?

“To be honest, I hadn’t even thought of that,” Janchar said. “I guess it’s just something we’re going to have to figure out.”

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