WHITEHALL — The Trojans are going west.
A longtime member of the Southern B Division, Whitehall's football team was transferred into the Western B prior to this season to fill a vacancy left by Deer Lodge, which still isn't fielding a varsity program.
"Looking forward to the opportunity to play some new teams and compete for a different conference," said Whitehall's seventh-year head coach Dan Lacey.
The Trojans went 6-3 last year, beating Shepherd 6-2 in the opening round of the Class B playoffs before falling to Fairfield 40-13.
Whitehall will hit the road Friday to open the 2021 season against its in-county rival, Jefferson, in what is now a nonconference game. The Trojans then host two more non-conference teams, Townsend and Fairfield, before kicking off its conference schedule against Bigfork on September 24.
"It's gonna be a little weird, a lot more driving," said senior wide receiver Brendan Wagner about his team's new far-flung opponents. "But I think it'll be good for us. Play some new teams, teams that we haven't ever seen."
With all-State receiver Flint Smith now graduated, Wagner, who hauled in four touchdowns and piled up 566 receiving yards last year, is now Whitehall's No.1 option at the position. The connection between him and junior quarterback Miles Hoerauf will be a crucial facet of the Trojans' offense this season.
"We've been working a lot this summer on timing and everything," Wagner said. "(Hoerauf's) been getting a lot better and we've been looking good."
"Me and Brendan have had a connection since middle school and now up to high school," said Hoerauf, who has been Whitehall's starting QB since he was a freshman. "It's pretty much automatic between us now."
Hoerauf threw 14 touchdown passes and amassed 1603 passing yards last year. Hoerauf is now an upperclassman, and Lacey is looking for more of the same from his signal caller.
"He's gotten better each year and that's what we're looking for this year," Lacey said. "He's really got command of the offense, he knows what I'm looking for as a play caller. He's able to see the same things that I'm seeing. That just comes with age."