Whittell heads to Excel Christian Saturday to open league play | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Whittell heads to Excel Christian Saturday to open league play

Bill Rozak | brozak@tahoedailytribune.com

ZEPHYR COVE, Nev. — Let the real games begin.

Whittell split four football games before league play and now it's time to set up for a playoff run as the Warriors prepare to open play in the 1A West 8-man League Saturday afternoon against Excel Christian in Sparks, Nevada.

"The guys are all business this week," said Whittell head coach Doug Patton. "We know that for every team in this league we are their most important game to win in order to get into the playoffs."

Five teams are in the league and only the two with the best conference record will reach postseason. The favorites are the usual suspects, Whittell and Virginia City, and the rest will try their best to knock off the perennial powerhouses.

Whittell ripped Excel, also named the Warriors, last year, 62-26, behind nearly 500 rushing yards. Both teams return most of the same skill players. And Whittell's skill players, "Thunder and Lightning" Dalton Warswick and Isaiah Womack, respectively, ran wild against the Warriors, with Womack gaining about 300 yards on the ground.

This year Womack, the league's returning offensive MVP, is not lining up behind center, but all over the field, mostly in the backfield. He has rushed for 801 yards and 10 touchdowns on 56 carries (14.3-yard per carry average) and has also caught a team-high 17 passes for 200 yards and four scores.

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Warswick has rushed for 637 yards and eight TDs on 55 attempts (11.6 yards per carry) and has also caught seven passes, two for touchdowns.

Trent Dingman is the team's quarterback and has completed 36 of 61 passes for 534 yards and six TDs with zero interceptions.

"For us offensively we need to keep being us," Patton said. "We're a matchup nightmare all over the field so if they do their jobs we will be fine. Everyone seems on task, we're all on the same page and the offense is clicking."

Excel is coming off a forfeit victory last week over Mineral County, a team Whittell beat 60-56 in its season opener.

Excel ball carrier Jeshua Fixel is back for his senior season and has rushed so far for 1,132 yards and 15 touchdowns.

The Warriors run the ball about 85 percent of the time, with 174 rushing tries compared to just 32 pass attempts.

"Fixel is probably the fastest and most talented running back, that is not on my team, in the league," Patton said. "So our first order of business is to slow him down."