Night of reckoning and tackling for Whittell |

Night of reckoning and tackling for Whittell

Becky Regan

Becky Regan / Tahoe Daily Tribune The Warriors are battlefield ready before their homecoming game against Lovelock Sept. 28. Whittell travels to Incline for a must-win game against Incline tonight.

There aren’t many games circled as must-wins on the Warriors’ calendar, but tonight’s game against Incline is one of them.

With the way the season is shaping up, Whittell coach David Housel is fairly certain the fourth playoff spot will come down to Whittell or Incline.

“We’ve got North Tahoe, Incline and ROP circled as our must-win to make playoffs,” Housel said after homecoming last week. “We’re still sitting at fifth right now, behind Incline.”

A win against Incline tonight would pull the Warriors (1-2) even with the Highlanders (2-1). A win tonight would also give the Warriors a great shot at going 3-1 the next four weeks and ending with a 5-4 record. Aside from Yerington, Whittell has already faced the powerhouse programs from Battle Mountain and Lovelock.

But a win tonight will not be easy. Both Whittell and Incline have built strong football teams, stronger teams than either school has seen in years. Both schools also know playoffs are riding on the game.

“It’ll be a close game, but I’m going to injure someone,” running back Hughston Norton said. “We just have to watch out for their quarterback scramble, and they pass well.”

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Same can be said for Whittell.

Incline will need to watch out for Austin Buyak, the Warriors’ quarterback. Buyak is 24 for 46, with 403 yards passing and two interceptions this season. Buyak doesn’t just throw either. He’s big and he can move. The senior has recorded seven touchdowns this season, four of which were off his 152 yards of collected rushing.

Warrior rushing, however, belongs to Norton. Norton is agile and sets a relentless pace through the full game length. He has 47 carries for 575 yards and five touchdowns. He’s also hauled in six receptions for another 146 yards and two touchdowns.

The third piece to the Warriors’ puzzle is latecomer Ty Sprock, who was key in the Warriors’ lone league win against West Wendover two weeks ago. Sprock hauled in 10 receptions for 185 yards and two touchdowns.

Incline uses a balanced run-pass attack led by senior fullback Sean Herrera, senior running back Brendon Steinmeyer and junior quarterback Christian Biscotti.

The Warriors know what they’re looking for though, and they know what’s on the line.

“They’re good at passing,” Warriors’ Kody Dangtongdee said. “We just need to make sure we have our pass coverage.”

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