Fresh faces for Warrior varsity team
Whittell High School’s football Warriors will know more about the future of their program today.
After the school combined its varsity and junior varsity programs Monday, two of the 17 JV players moved up to varsity practice Tuesday. That gives Whittell 14 on the varsity roster – enough for two-way ironman football, barring more than three losses.
“Fourteen’s not very good when two of them are freshmen,” said John Summers, Whittell’s second-year head coach. “Most of them were freshmen. We had 13 freshmen. A lot of them, this is their first experience with football.”
Jake Summers – the coach’s son – and Joe Ilk, both freshmen, chose to move from the JV to varsity. John Summers said there are one or two more possibilities. But with chronic injuries already beginning to manifest themselves in some of Whittell’s returning players, that still leaves the Warriors with a narrow working margin.
John Summers and his assistants will meet with Whittell’s Athletic Director Larry Reilly and the school’s principal, Howard Bennett, this morning.
“It’s premature for me to make any comment about our football program, varsity or JV, until I meet with Mr. (John) Summers, Mr. Bennett and myself,” Reilly said.
Nevada rules stipulate players must complete 10 practices before they compete in their first game.
“However, with regards to football, 10 practices is pretty thin,” John Summers said.
Both Ilk and Jake Summers worked out with the varsity team on Tuesday. Both attributed their decisions to the perception it was the only way to keep playing for the school.
“I decided to go for varsity because it’s better, it’s a better decision,” Ilk said.
Jake Summers agreed:
“It’s either not to play or play at the varsity level,” he said. “I just moved up because I want to play football. There was just nothing else to do.”
Whittell opened practice last week with eight players. The Warriors are in their final year in Nevada’s 3A classification before moving down to the smaller 2A grouping. The football team finished each of its two previous seasons 0-9, and own a 19-game losing streak.
“I think it’s probably not going to be one of our best seasons, but we can give it our all, do our best,” said Joel Warnick, a junior who returns to the varsity squad. “The ones who are going to be able to come up, we could use them a lot.”
Some of the players seem to recognize it will take a lot of work to get the team into playing form. It has missed one preseason scrimmage.
“We’ve really got to pick it up now,” said senior lineman Dennis Lucas. “A lot in conditioning, a lot in plays. We’ve already missed a lot.”
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