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Highlanders’ victory a rush

Michael Traum

INCLINE VILLAGE – It was over after just three plays.

Incline High School scored the first three times it touched the ball on runs of 53 and 70 yards and a 58-yard pass, to pound Whittell 60-0 on Friday night.

“The word is embarrassing,” said Whittell coach John Summers. “It’s embarrassing for the coaches, the kids and the whole school. Hopefully we’ll improve, or we’ll get embarrassed again.”

The Highlanders (2-1) racked up a staggering 504 yards rushing on just 36 carries. Kyle Knespler, who tallied 302 yards and four scores against the Warriors last year, was again in high gear. This time, the senior ran 14 times for 214 yards and two touchdowns, including a 53-yarder on the first play of the night and an 18-yarder on Incline’s final possession with 5:15 remaining.

The interim was a football display that excelled on one side of the ball and was bitterly disappointing on the other.

Incline’s Ryan Whitlock bolted 70 yards the next time Incline lined up, followed by a Tim Reynolds to Gherardo Fedrigo 58-yard passing score. Whitlock added a 27-yard run, with the game clock running continuously, as the first quarter ended, 28-0.

“It’s probably the best Incline team I’ve seen,” Summers said. “But (the Warriors) just weren’t executing on defense, not tackling well. Every big play had missed tackles – not just one or two but three or four.”

While the Warriors (0-3) continued to struggle with the ball, usually going three-and-out on go-nowhere dive plays, the Highlanders kicked it into another gear. Big plays from a variety of players were common, as David Walker scampered 67 yards right up the middle, followed by a Derek DeCaprio 11-yard score, breaking at least six tackles en route. The half ended 34-0.

“Our kids were just fired up to play football,” said Incline coach Tim Buxton, who fielded 16 players to Whittell’s 17. “We just kept running the football and executed the game plan.”

Added Knespler, “I expected a bit more our of Whittell. Maybe if they would’ve got a break, they would’ve had a shot.”

But the Warriors got no breaks. Stopped on drive after drive, whether by penalty or punishment, Whittell finished with an inept 56 yards total offense. Joel Warnick led the rushers with 29 yards on 14 bruising carries. Nathan Porter added an equally painful 14 yards on eight runs. Trent Gordon was 2-of-9 passing for seven yards. The team’s longest play from scrimmage was an eight-yard Gordon flee. Whittell was penalized six times for 45 yards. The lone highlight was punter Luke Forvilly, who averaged 40 yards per boot.

Meanwhile, Incline averaged a gaudy 14-plus yards per carry, led by Knespler’s 214. Whitlock ran nine times for 154 yards and Walker had three carries for 86. Reynolds completed just two-of-four passes, one each half, for 67 yards and two touchdowns. Fedrigo showed an impressive kickoff leg, sending seven of eight out of the end zone.

Incline’s third-quarter scoring came on a nine-yard catch by Jeremy Reynolds and six-yard run by Elliot Baldridge. Walker ran for a seven-yard score before Knespler’s 18-yarder in the fourth quarter. Incline never punted and tried four different players at quarterback in an effort to slow the scoring.

Summers said he didn’t think Incline could be accused of running up the score.

“If we were ahead, we’d still pound away. If you let up, you can get hurt. It’s not like they were throwing or trying trick plays. They were keeping things pretty basic,” he said.

The Warriors host Dayton, with former coach Butch Cattanach, for homecoming on Saturday. Game time is 1:30 p.m.

Tahoe Daily Tribune E-mail: tribune@tahoe.com

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