ZEPHYR COVE, Nev. — Whittell celebrated senior night for its football players last week.
It was a festive event with parents and close family members. And it was made more festive with a hard fought victory that came down to the final minute.
The Warriors defeated the Sierra Lutheran Falcons 24-20 on Thursday night in Zephyr Cove.
“It was good to have that home, wholesome environment,” said Whittell Head Coach Doug Patton. “It was great to have the cheers echoing across the mountains. We’re having fun and that’s the important part.”
The Warriors battled short-handed and several players were in positions for the first time, including a couple of linemen, but it was their stars who carried them to their first victory of the COVID-19 shortened season.
“Some guys only left the field once or twice which is a true testament to them,” Patton said.
Senior Jack White during practice all week leading up to the game said he was going to return the opening kickoff. Maybe White should look into a future career as a psychic or economic forecaster, because he returned the opening kickoff 86 yards for a touchdown.
“He said it all week and what do you know, he returns it for a touchdown,” Patton said. “That really got us fired up.”
The game was close throughout with the Falcons keeping within a touchdown.
Whittell went into halftime with a 14-6 lead and held that lead throughout the second half.
The Warriors defense stepped up at the important time. After the offense punted with about 3 minutes left in the game, the defense kept the Falcons from scoring the winning touchdown.
Patton said Jack Forvilly, who also had a big day at quarterback, made a big sack to help stuff the Falcons.
The Warriors didn’t keep official statistics, but Patton said senior linebacker Malachi Womack made the most tackles, as usual, and had a couple of sacks.
Patton also highlighted Aidan Rippett who made a couple of sacks and Christian Boatman who “really brought the thunder out there and was hitting hard,” he said.
Patton said Forvilly had a big night and must’ve had 180 yards rushing while also completing several passes, including a handful to Womack, his top receiver. He said White also rushed for about 100 yards and Boatman carried a few times for some tough yardage.
“It was a close back and forth game but a good night for us,” Patton said. “It came down to us punting with a few minutes left and our defense held them.”
The Warriors (1-3) have one more game on the schedule, at 3 p.m. Friday against Pyramid Lake at home.