Whittell football suffers homecoming loss to Virginia City | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Whittell football suffers homecoming loss to Virginia City

ZEPHYR COVE, Nev. — The sunset Friday during warmups was a breathtaking fiery red that faded to nightshade. The homecoming crowd was big. The first quarter was tremendous. The next 12 minutes were pretty good, too. But the second half, that just wasn't a whole lot of fun for Whittell.

The Warriors played even with rival Virginia City through most of the first half, but a failed onside kick recovery and quick fumble in the second half demoralized the home team and led to an avalanche of points for the rival Muckers.

Virginia City broke a tie late in the first half and followed with 34 unanswered second-half points to beat the Warriors 64-22 and spoiled the end to homecoming week.

"We played a great first half, our offense was clicking," said Whittell head coach Doug Patton. "The second half, not recovering that first kick, and fumbling on our first play, that was demoralizing. By the time we recovered and gained some traction, they just had all the momentum on their side. But the guys played together and gave everything they could and I'm proud of them."

The clash of the 1A 8-man West League rivals was thrilling throughout the opening half. The rivalry game over the past four years has decided which team won the league title.

The Muckers struck first, scoring on the game's second play to lead 8-0 after the two-point conversion.

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The strong and proud contingent of Mucker fans exploded and the game became a battle of sideline roars.

Whittell answered a few minutes later when quarterback Trent Dingman audibled at the line of scrimmage and hit Isaiah Womack for a 23-yard touchdown pass.

Womack went in motion and was followed by a big, burly linebacker, no match for the lightning quick senior. Dingman and Womack couldn't get the ball snapped fast enough. Womack ran a stop-and-go and blew right by the defender. Dingman's pass was right on the mark and the game was tied after Jack White ran in the two-point conversion.

After the Warriors defense held, Womack scored two plays later on a 33-yard run. The sprint was highlighted by a brilliant high-speed spin maneuver to evade the final defender and break free.

The home side erupted as the Warriors grabbed a 14-8 lead.

Whittell had an opportunity to expand its advantage after recovering a fumble on the ensuing kickoff, but its drive went straight backward.

Virginia City got the ball back and quickly powered its way into the endzone to retake the lead, 16-14.

The Muckers scored again a few minutes into the second quarter and led 22-14.

The Warriors tied the game on their next drive.

Dingman lofted a pass to a wide-open Womack, who made the grab and stepped into the endzone for a 28-yard score. White again ran in the two-point conversion to make it 22-22.

Virginia City grabbed a 30-22 lead late in the first half.

Going into halftime players and coaches were excited and were yelling, "We've got a ballgame."

"We knew that we had them and things were working well," Patton said. "It was all positive. Then we went in, and we had the whole homecoming thing."

During the homecoming halftime ceremony, seniors Ben Harrison and Anna White were crowned homecoming king and queen, respectively.

The second half, well, let's say it started unfavorably for Whittell, and kept spiraling.

Whittell was set to receive the second half kickoff, but Virginia City hit an onside kick and recovered it inside Warriors territory.

Two plays later the Muckers led 36-22.

After gaining possession on the next kickoff, the Warriors fumbled on their first play.

Two plays later Virginia City led 44-22.

The struggle for the Warriors to get back into the game at that point felt like a climb comparable to hiking in running shoes straight up a black diamond with three feet of powder.

Virginia City stormed away and led 50-22 heading into the final quarter.

Dingman completed 10 of 23 passes for 167 yards and two touchdowns and was also sacked six times.

Isaiah Womack rushed for 58 yards and touchdown on 0 carries and also hauled in four passes for 74 yards and two TDs.

Also for Whittell (2-4, 0-2 1A 8-man West League), Dylan Wade caught two passes for 42 yards, Jack White made two receptions for 39 yards and Malachi Womack caught a 12-yard pass.

Throughout the game, the Whittell student body and cheerleaders never lost their spirit and cheered until the final second ticked off the clock.

"It was amazing, they never stopped and they never quit on us," Patton said. "We have the best fans. When we go other places, these guys put them to shame."