After 200 debacle, WHS-Incline rivalry doesn’t need any sparks |

After 200 debacle, WHS-Incline rivalry doesn’t need any sparks

Gary Kank

Heated rivalry?

Yeah, that’s probably a fair statement.

After last year’s Nevada 2A football contest between the Whittell Warriors and the Incline Highlanders saw a combined 200 yards in penalties, players hurling obscenities and one another, coaches going nose to nose and a South Lake Tahoe reporter getting berated by the Incline coach, it’s safe to say these two programs aren’t going to be hooking up for pizza and sodas after the game.

“It’s going to be a tough game,” Warrior defensive end Parker Fox said. “We beat them last year so they’ll be gunning for us this year.”

But a lot of things have changed since last year’s tilt, which saw the Warriors spoil Incline’s homecoming with a 22-14 victory.

For starters, both head coaches are in their first year with their respective programs and many key players from last year’s battle graduated. Does this dilute the intensity of this game?

Highly doubtful.

“I think it’s as intense as it’s always been,” Fox said. “It’s not the coaches and the teams really, it’s the schools.”

And with both teams sitting at 0-2 in league play, the rivalry shouldn’t be the only thing getting these teams fired up. Saturday’s 1 p.m. homecoming contest in Zephyr Cove could prove to be a key turning point for one of these programs.

Both squads know they have have to rebound from tough losses in last week’s action or they face an 0-3 mark and a big uphill battle the rest of the season.

In their 12-6 home loss against 4-0 Battle Mountain last week, the Highlanders showcased an effective defense, holding the high-powered Longhorn offense to only 12 points.

Playing on the road in Carlin, the Warriors showed promise and a lot of heart in the first half of action, but were literally run over in the second half by Railroader running back Rex Simpson’s Northern Nevada record 367 yards.

This week, the Warriors will obviously be looking to step it up a notch.

“We’ve really been working on our offense,” Fox said. “We have been getting down on ourselves after the other team scores first, but we’re gonna show Incline we’re not intimidated.”

With a refocused attitude and a big homecoming game against their arch rivals, you can bet the Warriors will be motivated to break into the win column Saturday.

“This is definitely the highest point we’ve been at all season,” Fox said of his team’s week-long preparations. “We have been really aggressive and hitting hard all week.”

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