Lackluster second half costs Warriors game
There is a reason why there are four quarters to a football game.
Whittell found that out the hard way as the Warriors fell to the Carlin Railroaders 34-7 in the first round of the 2A state playoffs.
The Warriors had a 7-6 lead at halftime and looked to have the game in hand. But came out flat in the second half and had crucial turnovers that contributed to a 21-7 lead for the home team Railroaders with about five minutes left in the game.
“It was kind of disappointing the way we came out after such a great first half,” Warrior coach Larry Reilly said.
Carlin added two late touchdowns when the game was well within hand and made the score not reflect the game.
“We were subbing in some younger players and he kept throwing the ball,” Reilly said.
As disappointing as the second half was, the first was just that exciting. Senior Luke Forvilly took the opening kickoff and ran it back to within the Railroader 10-yard line. Junior Joey Massa ran the ball twice and punched it in to give the Warriors an early 6-0 lead. Forvilly then added an extra point to extend the lead to 7.
Carlin came back and cut the lead to 7-6, but missed the extra point. After which the two teams merely moved the ball around the field until intermission.
After the break was when the floodgates opened on the Warriors. Carlin capitalized on Warrior miscues and never looked back.
Despite the loss, Reilly was pleased with the season his young team compiled.
“You look at the players we have coming back next season and I think there is a good foundation,” the coach said. “If you would have asked the kids at the beginning of the season if they would be happy going 5-4 and making the playoffs, I think they would have said ‘yes.'”
One of the key components to the Warriors success during the regular season was conspicuously missing in senior tightend/linebacker Joel Warnick.
Warnick suffered a severe high ankle sprain in the final regular season game against Lovelock, causing the senior to miss the Carlin contest. He was switch to tighend halfway through the season to solidify the blocking for the running game.
After the switch, both Massa and Forvilly exploded through the gaping holes throughout the second half of the season.
Warnick was replaced by a freshman and a senior in the playoffs, Nick Summers on offense and Mike Kiger on defense.
“We set up a couple of blocking schemes for the running game, thinking Joel was going to be there,” Reilly said. “But, Mikey did a great job on defense for us.”
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