A complete performance: Whittell football downs Mineral County 48-0, remains undefeated
ZEPHYR COVE — In its first true test of the season, the Whittell football team delivered its best performance. The Warriors beat Mineral County at home 48-0 on Friday, Oct. 9, a complete victory that extended their unbeaten streak to six games to start the season.
“It was a huge win — we made a huge statement in the league,” Warriors quarterback Colin Buchholz said. “It was a big statement by our defense, our line did great and our backs ran hard.”
Whittell (6-0, 5-0 IV West) pitched its third consecutive shutout and scored twice in each of the first three quarters in Friday’s win. The Warriors played soundly in all three phases to decisively dispatch Mineral County (3-3, 2-2) in a game that saw their starters play all four quarters for the first time this season.
“We’ve played teams where we’ve played less than a quarter, so to play a team that is a lot bigger and more physical than those other teams really shows how we prepare,” Warriors running back Corey Huber said. “Our coaches always tell us we do the most conditioning — no one else does as much — and it really paid off tonight.”
The Serpents won the coin toss and deferred, and Whittell made the visitors regret that decision on the third play from scrimmage. Dismas Womack hit the outside on a sweep and ran for a 29-yard score that opened the scoring 34 seconds into the game.
Pinned deep in their own territory after a defensive stop on the next drive, the Warriors produced a big play to extend their lead. On third-and-7 from the 3-yard line, Buchholz hit Palmer Chaplin on a slant — a play installed just last week — and Chaplin raced through the Mineral County defense untouched for a 93-yard score that made it 14-0 with 7:56 left in the first quarter.
“We worked really hard on our routes this week,” Buchholz said. “We knew they weren’t too good with deep balls, and we ran a couple new things they hadn’t seen yet.”
Buchholz scored on a pair of short runs in the second quarter to give Whittell a 28-0 lead at halftime. The first capped a 74-yard drive after Caleb Moretti picked off Serpents quarterback Brandon West, and the second came five plays after a blocked punt by Quinn Kixmiller.
Whittell opened the second half with a defensive stop, then added to its lead with a six-play, 61-yard scoring drive. A screen pass from Buchholz to Huber went for a 31-yard touchdown that put the Warriors ahead 35-0 with 7:36 to play in the third quarter.
On the first play of its next drive, Whittell extended its lead to 41 points through the air. Buchholz threw a deep pass to Womack, and the junior hauled it in with one hand near midfield before taking off for a 69-yard score.
Huber capped the scoring early in the fourth quarter with a 10-yard run that made it 48-0. Following his touchdown, the last 10 minutes were played with a running clock. Whittell stopped Mineral County on the next possession and ran out the last 5:30 to secure its fourth shutout of the season.
“The biggest thing we have on most of the teams is quickness,” Kixmiller said of the Warriors’ defense. “They’re big, but we can get into their backfields and put pressure on their quarterbacks.”
Buchholz finished 10-for-13 passing for 319 yards and three touchdowns to go along with a pair of scores on the ground. The senior produced a season-best performance in the win.
“We haven’t been able to turn Colin loose with big leads, and he threw the ball really well,” Bryant said.
In the air, Chaplin caught three passes for 128 yards and a score. Womack had a game-high 136 receiving yards, 69 rushing yards and two scores while Huber finished with 97 total yards and a pair of touchdowns.
“They don’t know who to expect, so we’ll switch off,” Huber said of running alongside Womack in the backfield. “They don’t know where we’re going, and we always try to surprise them.”
Defensively, Whittell held Mineral County to 123 yards — West finished 9-for-16 for 41 yards and two interceptions, and Michael Smith had a team-high 55 yards rushing on 13 carries. The Serpents didn’t get past the Warriors’ 25-yard line for the entire game.
“We knew we couldn’t stop them from running the ball, but we thought we could make it difficult to where they were going to have to mix in some other stuff,” Bryant said. “We were able to disguise part of our coverage and make it really difficult for them.”
Whittell returns to action Saturday, Oct. 17, at Virginia City (5-1, 4-0) in a showdown for first place in Div. IV West League. Kickoff is scheduled for 1 p.m.
“I’m stoked for next week — we’ve been waiting all season for it,” Kixmiller said. “We’ve been focusing on each and every game, but Virginia City’s been on the back of our minds the whole time.”
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