WHS hopes to clinch third | TahoeDailyTribune.com

WHS hopes to clinch third

Steve Yingling

In essence, the Whittell-Rite of Passage prep football matchup on Friday night is no more than a playoff seeding game.

With Lovelock and Battle Mountain virtual locks for the top two Northern 2A League playoff spots, only the third and fourth slots are up for grabs.

The Warriors can secure the third seed with a victory over the Rams on Friday at 6 p.m. in Zephyr Cove. Whittell enters the game with on a roll and one-sided winners of their past four games.

But after losing to the Rams 50-28 on their home field last year, Whittell coach David Atherton respects what ROP can bring to the field and doesn’t want to fall into the trap of looking past its final regular-season opponent.

“I watched their game (with North Tahoe) on Saturday, and, of course, I’m worried,” Atherton said. “You don’t want to play ROP and Independence at the end of the season. If their kids start molding together … I’m looking at ROP in the same way as Independence. I know they have talent, and they have skill.

“We respect their talent, and we have to make sure we have outside containment on defense and our DBs have to be prepared for any sort of pass.”

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Quarterback Andre Wright makes the Rams go, much like senior signal-caller Roberto Concha-Foley ignites the Warriors’ offense. Atherton, though, really appreciates the multitude of weapons that Concha-Foley now has at his disposal.

“My first thought if I was playing our offense is to keep Roberto from scrambling outside,” Atherton said. “But if you do that, then you have to worry about running backs Cody (Nelson) and Phil Gielow. Let’s not forget about Rio (DeLucia). He’s a great receiver. Then you add in Ian Allen, who is catching the ball well, and then, on top of that, you have tight end Cody Reed catching the ball, too. There’s also Jordan Morgan in the backfield, and he’s not someone who is easy to take down, and he can be a good receiver.

“I feel we’re not stoppable. The confidence we’ve built since the Battle Mountain loss, it’s not over confidence. It’s to the point where we are confident, and we feel no one is going to stop us.”

ROP roughed up North Tahoe 48-20 last Saturday, a week after the Warriors defeated the Lakers 50-28. The Rams (4-2) trail the Warriors (5-2) by a half game going into the final two weeks of the regular season.

If the Warriors win on Friday, they will likely play Battle Mountain in the first round of the playoffs on Nov. 8 in Battle Mountain. Atherton relishes that particular playoff matchup, while the rest of his staff would prefer a rematch with Lovelock. The Warriors lost to Lovelock 22-18 in their season opener.

“That Battle Mountain coach, he had a better game plan,” Atherton said. “I don’t like that. I’m very competitive. We lost, but there is a second chance.”

League Overall

W L W L

Lovelock 5 0 7 0

Battle Mountain 4 1 4 2

Whittell 5 2 5 2

Rite of Passage 4 2 5 2

Independence 4 2 4 2

Hawthorne 2 2 3 4

North Tahoe 2 5 2 5

Incline 0 6 0 6

Silver Stage 0 6 0 7

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