An old rivalry will be rekindled on Saturday when Coleville High hosts Whittell in the Western Division IV 8-man football opener for both teams.
Coleville (2-0) and Whittell (0-1) are meeting for the first time in football since 1980 at 1 p.m. in a game that carries considerable importance for both teams.
Even though the Wolves have opened their season with impressive back-to-back victories — 50-16 at Eureka and 56-0 at home against North Tahoe — coach Will Sandy expects a tough test from the Warriors, who lost their only game to date 53-40 against North Tahoe.
“This is a very big game for both teams,” Sandy said. “It’s the first league game because you always like to get a good start, especially when you’re at home. And it’s a big game for Whittell because they want to get a good start in their new league.”
Whittell is in its first season as a Division IV school and playing 8-man football. Previously, Coleville and Whittell were rivals in the old Northern A league between the early 1970s and 1981 (Whittell won the last meeting 38-0 on Sept. 26, 1980).
“I would say obviously Coleville has a great tradition and Sandy has been a great coach for many years,” Whittell coach David Housel said. “They have built a terrific program and we are excited to have the opportunity to test ourselves against them and see how we stack up against the class of the league.”
With the win against North Tahoe Sandy now has a 139-81 record since taking over as Coleville’s football coach in 1990, and according to the NIAA record book, he is tied with Douglas High’s Mike Rippee for No. 7 on the list of all-time winning high school football coaches in Nevada.
Another point of interest is that Sandy played for Coleville in its last win against Whittell, a 36-0 decision in 1976.
Among the players to watch on Saturday, Coleville running back Jacob Park has rushed for 274 yards and five touchdowns and quarterback Seth Huhta is 7-for-25 for 306 yards and eight TDs through two games.
Whittell showed an impressive running attack in its loss against North Tahoe, as speedster Max Primo rushed for 165 yards and three TDs on just 12 carries while Alex Barnes rushed for 125 yards and two TDs.
“Offensively, they might be more dangerous than North Tahoe,” Sandy said. “They have a good running back and a good quarterback. They could have easily beaten North Tahoe, as I understand it.”
Quin Kixmiller was a leader defensively for the Warriors in their opener, according to Housel.