Warriors inch along for win | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Warriors inch along for win

Becky Regan

Becky Regan / Tahoe Daily TribuneTy Sprock rips down the line for an 80-yard touchdown run after a handoff from Hughston Norton to put Whittell on the board in the first quarter of Friday's game against West Wendover.

For all the Warriors out there, it’s good to have Ty Sprock back on the football field.

Sprock, who’s back from ski racing in New Zealand, ignited the Warriors’ offense in the first half with two touchdowns and an interception, and the Warriors won their first league home game 24-21 against West Wendover.

Having Sprock back is huge for Whittell, but it was also the little things that added up to equal a win Friday night.

“If we’re going to change this program it’s not going to happen overnight, it’s going to be inches by inches and that stop at the end of the second quarter was one of them. Stepping up in the fourth quarter when you’re down and winning the game is one of them,” Warriors’ coach David Housel said.

There were two pivotal moments in Friday’s game when the Warriors came through. One was in the final minutes of the first half when West Wendover drove the ball down to the Warriors eight-yard line. Hanging onto a one-point lead, the Warriors’ defense managed to contain the Wolverines.

“The old Whittell team doesn’t make that stop at the end of the second quarter. The new Whittell team does,” Housel said. “The old Whittell team doesn’t come back from a fourth-quarter deficit. The new Whittell team does.”

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The fourth-quarter comeback was the Warrior’s second pivotal moment in the game and not just because it earned them the win. Where the old team may have gone quietly, the new Whitttell team found energy and heart, sparked by first-year player Sean Noyes. Noyes recovered a key fumble with eight minutes left on the clock and Buyak started moving the ball downfield. He connected with kicker Garrett Bronken to move the ball to the Wolverines’ 15.

The win was one touchdown away and once Buyak caught sight of the end zone and broke loose it was like trying to stop a freight train with mere traffic cones. Buyak trucked the ball in and the Warriors pulled off the two-point conversion to hammer a three-point nail into the lead.

But let’s not forget Sprock, who kept the win within reach in the first place.

It was Sprock who Hughston Norton snuck a handoff to after the Wolverines’ first kick return. No one saw it coming until Sprock was halfway down the Warriors sideline for an 80-yard touchdown with West Wendover in his dust.

A successful point after touchdown from Bronken tied the score at 7-7 and stifled the Wolverines’ early lead.

Alex Barnes kept the Warriors momentum rolling when he clipped an interception from the Wolverines less than two minutes later.

With the ball back in the Warriors possession, it didn’t take long for Sprock to find the end zone again. Quarterback Austin Buyak spiraled a 47-yard pass straight to Sprock’s chest deep in the Wolverines’ red zone for a touchdown giving the Warriors a 13-7 lead.

But West Wendover answered back with a touchdown and successful two-point conversion to open the second quarter and regain a 15-13 lead.

Sprock, however, had another first-half trick up his sleeve. He snagged an interception and Bronken put up a 46-yard field goal to make it 16-15 at the half.

“(Sprock’s) such a great weapon. They have two guys on him. It stretches that whole defense because they can’t guard him with one guy,” Housel said.

The win advances the Warriors to 1-1 in league and 2-2 overall. Next up for the Warriors is homecoming Friday at 7 p.m. against Lovelock, which promises to be a tough battle.

“They’re probably one of the best teams in the league so we’ve got to buckle down and get ready for them,” Sprock said.

Coaches and players are encouraging spectators to wear as much red as possible for a “red out.”

“I don’t think they’ve lost a game in three years, and I don’t think a lot of people expect them to lose, but it’s high school football and anything can happen,” Housel said. “We’ve got a lot of trick plays we haven’t shown. The guys are going to be ready for them.”

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