Windsor Senior Up and Running Again

  • Windsor High School senior running back Trevor Worrall, 18, returned to the field in 2017 after spending half of the 2016 football season on the bench with a torn ACL. Worrall warms up during practice with the Yellow Jackets in Windsor, Vt., Thursday, Nov. 9, 2017 ahead of their state championship game with Woodstock on Saturday. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Running back Trevor Worrall takes a hand off from quarterback Seth Balch during Windsor High School football practice Thursday, Nov. 9, 2017. Worrall returned to the field in 2017 after tearing his ACL in during the 2016 season. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Trevor Worrall listens to Head Coach Greg Balch at the close of Windsor football practice in Windsor, Vt., Thursday, Nov. 9, 2017. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

Valley News Staff Writer
Thursday, November 09, 2017

Windsor — It took a few weeks for Windsor High senior running back Trevor Worrall to trust his right leg again, that his once-damaged right knee would hold up to the required workload of a full varsity football season. Breaking through that mental barrier was the last hurdle in a year filled with plenty of them.

Once comfortable, Worrall got back to being a key cog in Windsor’s high-flying offense. He’s picked up right where he left off.

The road back has been long and monotonous for Worrall, the Yellowjackets’ undersized, yet speedy, back who tore the anterior cruciate ligament and partially tore the meniscus in his right knee five weeks into his junior season last fall. He watched from the sidelines — on crutches, his leg wrapped in a cast — as Windsor completed its first undefeated campaign (11-0) since going 9-0 in 1969, a year before the Vermont Principals Association began crowning state champions.

A year later, Windsor (8-0) has a chance to make it two titles in a row as it takes on second-seeded rival Woodstock (8-1) in Saturday’s VPA Division III championship game. This time, Worrall will be on the field, and he’s determined to make the most of it.

“There was a lot of pain,” Worrall recalled after a Wednesday afternoon practice at MacLeay-Royce Field. “It was disappointing, for sure. But I was happy that my team played very well without me.”

Worrall still remembers the play — midway through a game against U-32 — that ended his junior season and recalls just how difficult it was to deal with. He was averaging nearly 18 yards per carry at the time and had racked up 519 rushing yards and six touchdowns on just 29 carries as one of Windsor’s go-to offensive options.

For Yellowjackets head coach Greg Balch, seeing his lead back go down left everyone on the sideline with a sinking feeling.

“It was awful,” Balch said. “Your first thought is for Trevor. We’ve been watching him play football since the third grade, and we all know how important it is to him and how much he loves it. … And he was having such an incredible season. Eighteen yards a carry; the end zone was usually getting in his way, or else he would have had more. He always played well, but he was absolutely lights out last season.

“And he was never really injured. He had always been so durable,” Balch added. “So when he got hurt, we had a pretty good idea that it was serious. … Just seeing him in a lot of pain was terrible.”

Worrall was officially diagnosed a few weeks later, and the long log of doctor appointments, rehabilitation sessions and physical therapy to repair his leg followed. It took a full nine months before the Windsor back was cleared to return, just in time for training camp.

“It was just like a lot of workouts for my quads and calf workouts because my calf shrunk up,” Worrall said. “The whole leg basically just shrunk up.”

But even though his leg was fine, Worrall’s mind still needed time. His cuts upfield were not as sharp as they were before the knee injury, Balch said. His tackles were not as clean.

Some of it was rust. Some of it was confidence. Either way, it took Worrall a few games and a few weeks before the senior felt, and looked, like himself again.

Windsor’s coaching staff kept him out of preseason scrimmages and limited touches in his first few games. They also kept Worrall off the field, at least initially, when the Yellowjackets were on defense.

When he finally got going, Windsor’s season took off. The Yellowjackets have outscored opponents 326-104 in eight games this fall, including a 12-9 overtime win, on Oct. 21 over Woodstock Saturday’s championship foe. Worrall has 494 yards and four touchdowns on 76 carries to his name entering Saturday’s finale, and has contributed to the Yellowjackets’ big-play parade with eight receptions for 179 yards and one touchdown on passes from senior quarterback Seth Balch.

Greg Balch, Windsor’s fourth-year coach has seen one of his key football weapons return to form.

“He came back a little bit tentative at first, but more like what he felt like he could do,” coach Balch said. “Once he was out there, once you gave him the ball, he ran exactly the same (as he did before the injury).”

Worrall took the ball 12 times for 56 yards in Windsor’s overtime win over the Wasps three weeks ago. He also grabbed a 31-yard reception in a game against Woodstock that was more a test of defensive patience than offensive showcasing.

But stats are not his primary concern. If anything, Worrall said he plans on entering Saturday’s title game, his final contest playing Windsor football, with one goal in mind.

“I’m very excited,” Worrall said. “I’m definitely going to go 100 percent. 110 percent.”

Saturday’s championship game is scheduled for 11 a.m. at Rutland High.

Josh Weinreb can be reached at jweinreb@vnews.com or 603-727-3306.