Serpents run wild against Whittell | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Serpents run wild against Whittell

Paul Andrew

Mineral County High School used a deep and talented running attack to defeat an undermanned Whittell football team Saturday in the Warriors’ season opener.

The Serpents virtually abandoned the passing game in their dominant 39-0 victory at Whittell’s Zephyr Cove field.

With only 16 players in uniform, the tired but resilient Warriors were worn down by Mineral County, as the Serpents continually rotated fresh backs to pound through the Whittell defense.

“The numbers caught up with us,” said head coach Dennis Young. “The kids played with a lot of heart and didn’t quit.”

Offensively, Whittell couldn’t get untracked as Mineral County continually harassed quarterback Curtis Humbird with a fierce pass rush that shut down the Warrior attack.

“We will get better as the year goes on,” Young said. “We still need more practice.”

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The Serpents, who lost the previous week to 3A Faith Lutheran 45-0, began the game a with a long, time-consuming drive that resulted in an 8-yard td run by Curtis Espinoza, giving them an early 6-0 lead.

On their first offensive series, the Warriors converted a nice first down on a 12-yard pass from Humbird to wide receiver David Sabistina. The drive was thwarted when a Humbird pass was intercepted by linebacker Matt Kunzi at the Serpent 45.

Mineral County mounted another time-consuming drive that culminated in a 18-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Louie Loutis to Jeremy Joiner to give the Serpents a 13-0 first-quarter lead.

Whittell’s defense stiffened early in the second period, thanks to solid tackling from linebacker Travis Swoger, lineman Daniel Allen and freshman Steve Mick.

“I was happy with the play of our young kids, especially the freshmen,” Young said.

The Serpents’ ground game took control late in the period with a long drive that ended with a 20-yard TD run by Joiner, extending Mineral County’s lead to 19-0. On their next series, Humbird completed a 35-yard pass to Swoger just before the half ended.

It was more of the same in the third period as Mineral County mounted long drives against the worn-down Whittell defense. Will Blinco scored on a 20-yard run, followed by a 12-yard TD run by Curtis Espinoza on the next series, giving the Serpents a commanding 33-0 lead.

Whittell’s running attack began to show spark with Nick Teply running strong, although penalties shut down any hopes for concerted Warrior drive.

A blocked punt late in the period gave the Serpents the ball on the Warrior 1-yard line. Running back Chris Glover dove into the end zone, giving MCHS a 39-0 advantage, the final points of the afternoon.

Showing no quit, the Warriors shut out Mineral County in the fourth quarter as freshman Kevin Haws and seniors Jeff Young and Zach Witt lead a stiffened defense.

“We played hard until the end,” Jeff Young, last year’s quarterback, started at wide receiver and had one series behind center. “Lots of props go out to the young kids. They showed a lot of heart and didn’t quit.”

Help is on the way for Whittell, with four players becoming eligible next week, and three more the week after that. With four out of the next five games away from home, the Warriors will need stamina and depth if they are to succeed in the weeks ahead.

Whittell returns home on Sept. 24 for a 2 p.m. game against Lovelock. Following the game, Whittell with hold its annual fund-raising barbecue on the campus. Everyone is welcome to join Whittell students, fans and community members for the event.