Whittell’s strong start gives way to poor second half
ZEPHYR COVE, Calif – Whittell was able to drive the ball, pass the ball, make tackles behind the line of scrimmage and keep Yerington’s strong offense in check. Then the second half came.
The Warriors went into the half down a manageable 8-3, and almost scored on a four yard run as time expired, and made an undefeated Yerington team that is on a collision course with Pershing County for the Northern 2A title look like a mediocre team.
But when the teams returned, Yerington went back to looking like a playoff contender and Whittell returned to their old selves coach Jeff Jones said.
“It was night and day,” Jones said. “We hit people in the first half and we came out in the second half totally flat and not hitting people.”
The Warriors started the game with 15 guys suited up, versus Yerington who had closer to 25 guys.
Whittell’s first drive was a good one. They started on the 35 yard line after a Hughston Norton return and marched down the field to the four-yard line, mixing in runs from quarterback Shawn Mand up the middle, including a fourth and five run from the 26-yard line to the 15-yard line. Two plays later Mand ran to the eight-yard line, then to the three for a first and goal. The Warriors would be unable to find to the endzone though, and settled for a 21-yard field goal. The drive ate up nearly ten minutes.
On Yerington’s first drive, the Warriors would force a punt after a ten yard sack on third and 15. But on Yerington’s next drive Whittell didn’t do themselves any favors as they were called for roughing the passer and pass interference to help the Lions keep their drive alive. The Lions Sam Monahan would rush in for a five-yard touchdown. After an offside on the Warriors on the PAT, Yerington went for two and got it to go up 8-3.
Whittell’s next drive looked promising as Mand led the Warriors down the field with 74-yards of passing on the drive. A 26-yard pass to Jake Williams late in the drive put the Warriors on the seven-yard line. Coach Jones called a run to Norton that had him stopped at the two-yard line as time ran out.
Yerington came out of the second half and five plays later scored a touchdown that would be the beginning of 33 unanswered points.
Yerington head coach Cody Neville said the biggest difference at half time was the Lions mentality.
I told them just before the game, ‘I don’t think you’re mentally prepared.’ I could see it in their eyes. And it came true,” he said. “The second half obviously we found some spots that we thought were a little more vulnerable and we attacked those.
“A little scheme you know, a little fire lit under them and they came out and played like they’re suppose to in the second half. That’s the way they’ve been playing.”
Once again the Warriors were plagued by cramps in the second half of the game. Jones said that the biggest difference was simple: The Warriors didn’t make many mistakes in the first and found themselves making mistakes in the second.