Miners pound Warriors | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Miners pound Warriors

Mike Traum

If there were players other than No. 33 on the field, they must have been invisible.

Manogue’s Chris Russell and Whittell’s Ryan McMillen, both sporting double-threes on their backs, put on a football display that won’t soon be matched during the Miners’ 48-12 win Saturday in Zephyr Cove.

Russell collected 257 yards and four touchdowns on 19 carries. McMillen had 106 yards and one touchdown on 21 carries, with 47 yards and one touchdown on four catches. The Whittell senior also added eight tackles and an interception in his iron-man role.

“Watching film last week, I thought (McMillen) was the best athlete on the football field. He’s a prime example of a kid that gives 100 percent on every play. He really hurt us at times,” said Tony Amantia, a second-year Manogue coach.

McMillen put Whittell on the scoreboard first, collecting a screen pass from Trent Gordon and scampering 40 yards just six minutes in. He acrobatically dodged a handful of Miner tacklers before being tripped up while crossing the goal line.

“I just followed my blockers and had to make a move on the last guy. Once I got past him, I knew I had it,” said McMillen, who continuously and ferociously cracked heads and continued to get up. “There’s absolutely nothing that doesn’t hurt on me right now. I rest between the plays, that’s why I’m slow getting up. I just go as hard as I can until the whistle blows.”

Added Whittell coach Butch Cattanach, who embraced McMillen as the siren ended the contest, “Ryan is just a special athlete. (By the end) the referee on our side was telling us to call a time-out, bring him over to the sidelines, and take him out. The kid has no quit in him.”

But the Miners (2-2) came blasting back, as Russell carried four straight times on runs of 8, 2, 12 and 18 yards to set up Toby Gansert’s 25-yard touchdown run. Jeremy Nevin’s kick put Manogue up, 7-6, at the end of one quarter.

Whittell (0-4), which had scored just 18 points in the first three games of the season, spread the offense to allow Gordon time to operate. The Warriors responded, following the quality blocking by the offensive line, as McMillen busted the middle for a 20-yard score, making it 12-7, midway through the second quarter.

But the Warriors, who had hoped to keep the Miners to just two scores and were successful at holding them to under 10 offensive plays until midway through the half, soon found themselves in a game of chase, thanks to Russell. The 6-foot, 180-pounder took over, scoring on the first play after McMillen’s run, a virtually untouched 60-yarder. After three-and-out and a botched punt snap for Whittell, Russell was back at work, scoring on a 2-yard run on the subsequent play. He added a 6-yarder with under a minute left in the half, giving the Miners a commanding 28-12 advantage after 24 minutes.

“(Whittell) came off the ball hard. Naturally they were going to fight hard. But we just found a way. Once again our blocking was excellent. That’s what it takes for us to run the ball,” Russell said.

The Warriors seemed little rested following the intermission and Manogue took advantage, as Gansert broke a 35-yarder on the Miners’ first possession. Whittell’s offense began to stall, with Gordon suddenly losing his first-half patience, and the defense suffered. Russell added a 20-yarder and Dustin Garcia, who moved from quarterback to tailback, added a late 20-yarder to paydirt.

“It’s hard to believe it from the score, but we actually played better (Saturday) than we have all season. But the schedule doesn’t allow you to see that. The hard part now is the mental thing. I just hope playing at home (next week) we’re able to turn this thing around and get a win,” Cattanach said.

Whittell plays host to Incline on Saturday in hits homecoming game.

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