October 15, 2011
ZEPHYR COVE, Nev. – With it fourth-and-10, Austin Buyak held the ball as long as he could before punting it from the 50 yard line. The Warriors had the lead 32-26, but North Tahoe’s offense had just drove 70 yards on the previous possession to pull within six points. With 28 seconds left in the game, North Tahoe got the ball on their 29 yard line, while Whittell held it’s breath.
The game started out with both offenses scoring on their opening drives. North Tahoe started on the 35 yard line and a few plays later a big run by their full back put the ball on the 3 yard line. The same player would bulldoze into the end zone for a score. The PAT was no good.
Whittell responded with seven-play, 64-yard drive of their own that ended with starting quarterback Buyak keeping the ball himself after dropping back for a pass, and rushing for an 11-yard touchdown. It put Whittell up 7-6.
North Tahoe fired back after the Whittell score with an impressive 71-yard drive that was capped by a Chris Hoffmann 12-yard touchdown run up the middle to make it 14-7 after a good two-point conversion. Whittell punted on their next drive after stalling near mid-field, as would North Tahoe. Whittell came as close as the 5 yard line to evening up the game, but Ty Sprock was stop shy of the goal line after breaking several tackles to get that far. The ball turned over on downs, and that led to another North Tahoe score, which came on an 18-yard pass from Brendan Arnold to Oakley Keeler. That sent the Warriors into the half down 20-7.
The Lakers lead would not be long lived though, as a possessed Warriors team came out and marched 66 yards behind Buyak, who on the 10 yard line kept it all the way and stretched from about the 4 yard line to break the goal line with the tip of the ball. A two-point conversion made it 15-20 with just under eight minutes left in the third quarter. And the Warriors weren’t done yet.
A Lakers three and out gave Whittell the ball on their 40 yard line after a punt. A block in the back on the kicking team put the ball on the Lakers 29 yard line. Three plays later the Warriors faced a fourth-and-six on the 25 yard line, but a pass to Jake Williams gave Whittell a first down and the ball on the 13 yard line. Four plays later Norton rushed from the 10 to the 3 yard line that led to another Buyak rushing touchdown to put the Warriors up 22-20 after the good PAT.
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Another North Tahoe three and out led to a Warrior field goal to make 25-20 with just under 10 minutes in the game. With just over five minutes in the game Norton rushed for a 25-yard touchdown to make it 32-20. But North Tahoe wouldn’t go away. The Lakers would use a bit of trickery on a Hoffmann half-back-pass to Arnold that set them up in Whittell territory. Hoffmann would rush for 34 yards two plays later to put the ball on the three that led to a Arnold touchdown sneak to make it 32-26 with 2:27 left in the game.
On the first play of North Tahoe’s final possession, Arnold dropped back to pass, but Whittell’s Kody Dangtongdee flushed him left and he threw a high ball to the middle of the field that was at least 10 yards from the nearest receiver. That left 18.9 seconds on the clock. The next play was an incomplete pass Connor Altick. That made it third-and-10 with 17 seconds on the clock. Arnold’s next pass was back to Altick, behind the line of scrimmage. Altick dropped the ball and Whittell’s Tristan Beckwith casually picked up the ball. But with the sidelines screaming he made his way towards the endzone before North Tahoe realized what was happening. That made it 39-26 with 7.2 seconds on the clock. The ensuing kickoff ran out the remaining time and Whittell won.
“It was a good football game,” said Whittell coach Jeff Jones. “Basically the kids had to get out and play.”