Tight games are always tough to lose, but the Warriors left the field with their heads held high.
They had fought to the final seconds, outscoring Smith Valley 26-14 in the fourth quarter.
“If the game would have kept playing we could have got there,” Whittell coach David Housel said, “but we just kind of ran out of time.”
As time expired, Smith Valley led 80-72 at Whittell High School during a Division IV game Friday.
“The kids did a great job. When they were down 20 at the half they didn’t give up,” Housel said. “They came out, played hard and did great in the second half.”
Both teams battled defensively in the first quarter, exchanging long drives. The difference was a two-point conversion in Smith Valley’s favor that gave the Bulldogs an 8-6 edge.
The offenses exploded after the first quarter.
Smith Valley running back Mark Romero started amassing yards on his way to a 424-yard game. Bulldogs quarterback Gustavo Tholke went 2-for-2 averaging 53 yards a pass.
Whittell quarterback Jake Sharp put up equally impressive offensive numbers. He went 8-for-15 and threw for 242 yards and four touchdowns. He also ran for two touchdowns, finishing the night with six.
Max Primo converted two kick returns. He now has 411 return yards on the season, a school record he will likely break this year.
Alex Barnes ran in one touchdown and received for two, rushing 155 yards and receiving for 114.
Quinn Kixmiller received for two touchdowns and 95 yards.
Tristan Beckwith added a rushing touchdown and amassed 143 yards on 11 carries.
The Warriors tied the game at 66-66 in the fourth quarter, but the Bulldogs regained the edge and never let go.
“It was a good offensive game,” Housel said, “but the guys are young and we’re still figuring out the eight-man defense.”
Whittell is now 1-3 in league.
UP NEXT: Whittel travels to Dunsmuir on Saturday and returns home the following week for homecoming against Mineral County at 1 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 19. There will be a special pregame ceremony at 12:30 p.m. before homecoming to formally dedicate the Gary Lundergreen Athletic Field.
“The kids did a great job. When they were down 20 at the half they didn’t give up.”
Whittell coach David Housel