WHS faces defending state champions Friday
The Whittell Warriors are going into Friday night’s game against Pershing County with a pretty simple game plan: Don’t make mistakes.
The Warriors are facing the defending 2A state champions, who play in Lovelock, Nev., and are returning a lot of key players from last years title run. In their previous meeting Whittell was on the bottom end of a 41-7 blowout, in which Coach Jeff Jones said penalties hurt them.
“We’d move six yards and then get a penalty,” he said.
Last week the Warriors stumbled in the second half after going into the half leading Silver State Academy 15-13. Seniors Shawn Mand and Jake Williams, both who had scores in the first half, had to leave the game with cramps, leaving Whittell with only 13 players for the remaining half of the game. Jones was forced to play freshman in the game, who he said had a tough time lining up in the proper formations. After Friday’s game, which ended in a 41-15 loss, Jones said he was going to get his younger guys up to speed. The Warriors spent part of Monday’s practice watching film from Friday’s game, spending a lot of time going over several key plays Jones said.
“If we try to play like that against Lovelock, it’s going to be a long, long game,” he said. “We just can’t afford to make mistakes against Lovelock.”
Jones said that Mand and Williams will play Friday, and will suit 20 players on Friday. They had 18 practicing on Monday, three more than they had play against Silver State. They’ll need all the players they can get to face the Mustangs in Lovelock on Friday.
“We’re probably facing the best team in the league,” Jones said. “They got some great skill people and they’re huge on the offensive line.”
Huge is right. The Mustangs are returning three seniors on the offensive line, and including their big tight end Andrew Skeen (6-4, 260), the four weigh a combined 1,165 pounds, with two other boys still on the line. They lead the way for Pershing’s two-man running attack, with junior Jared Jensen and senior Marcus Tippens. Both rushed for over 1,000 yards last year and combined for 28 touchdowns.
“They’re a good football team and generally well coached. They’re the team to beat,” said Jones. “I think there are some things we can do against Lovelock, we just can’t afford to make mistakes.”
Kickoff is slated for 7 p.m. Friday night at Pershing County.