Atherton era begins at WHS program |

Atherton era begins at WHS program

Steve Yingling

Let the David Atherton coaching era officially begin.

Atherton, a former star running back for Whittell High School, will begin his first season as the Warriors’ head coach on Thursday.

The Warriors are opening practice with daily doubles (8-10 a.m. and 6-8 p.m.) at the upper field level at the school.

“I’m excited,” Atherton said. “I’ve talked about the frustration of kids not showing up this summer (to work out), but the fact is that on Thursday when practice starts, there is going to be a lot of focus.

“The focus is we’re going to the playoffs. It’s one game at a time, but we’re going to make it happen this year.”

Atherton has been an assistant to John Summers for the past two years. Summers, who coached football and basketball at the school off and on over the past two decades, has moved out of the area.

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“He and I had talked when I came back that he’d be the coach for two years and then pass it to me,” Atherton said. “He taught me a lot.”

Although the summer workout attendance wasn’t what Atherton had hoped, he’s excited about the experience his program brings to the 2008 season. The team only loses one starter, and many of the returners have been gaining invaluable experience since they were freshmen two years ago.

Leading the Warriors will be Northern 2A League first-team quarterback and free safety Roberto Concha-Foley.

Whittell struggled to a 2-7 record last year, but Concha-Foley engineered many scoring drives. The Warriors regularly scored in the 20s, with a season high of 40 points coming against Hawthorne in the season opener. That win stopped a 26-game losing streak.

Whittell is scheduled to open its season on Friday night, Sept. 5 against Lovelock.

That isn’t a misprint.

Big George Ventures has donated funding for field lights at Whittell. They are expected to be installed in time for the home opener, making the Zephyr Cove school the first South Shore school to play a home football game under the lights.