Silver Stage stuns Warriors in season opener |

Silver Stage stuns Warriors in season opener

David Werle / Special to the TribuneCody Nelson, a senior running back for Whittell High School, punishes Silver Stage's defense Saturday in Silver Springs.

It wasn’t the start to the 2009 football season that the Whittell Warriors envisioned.

Silver Stage withstood two late red-zone drives by Whittell to upset the Warriors 19-14 Saturday in Silver Springs.

“It was something about being in the desert scene. They were in a funk,” said Whittell coach David Atherton. “Obviously our performance was ugly.

“We couldn’t move the ball, and they were blitzing like crazy. To Silver Stage’s credit, they played hard.”

After the Nighthawks went ahead 19-7 early in the fourth quarter, Whittell made a strong push to pull out the win. Senior running back Cody Nelson scored on an 18-yard touchdown run, then was called short of the goal-line with 18 seconds remaining, a close call that didn’t go the Warriors way.

“It was a humbling experience,” Atherton said. “They got beat by a team that wanted it more than they did.”

Nelson, senior running back Phil Gielow and freshman quarterback Austin Buyak collectively rushed for 248 yards. Gielow led the Warriors with 89 yards, Nelson produced 88 and Buyak ran for 71. Adam Laub, a senior, caught three passes for 41 yards.

Buyak ran a sweep five yards for Whittell’s only first-half score.

Whittell will try to get back on track in its home opener on Thursday. Whittell will play Dayton’s junior varsity at 6:30 p.m. in Zephyr Cove.

“I believe my boys got their egos and attitudes in check,” Atherton said. “I’m going to reign terror on my team in the next week. I have a job to do.”

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