New coach a hit with Warriors
For a guy who has only been in town for six days, Whittell High football coach Anthony Esquivel has made quite an impression on his players.
“Our biggest strength this year is our coaches,” senior wide receiver Justin Briscoe said. “They really know what they’re doing and they’re getting everyone involved and hyped up.”
Coming off a 5-4 playoff year, the Warriors are hoping to take the intensity they’ve been experiencing during summer training and improve upon last year’s mark.
“We want it really bad,” senior running back Joey Massa said. “For a lot of us guys it’s our last year playing football ever and we want to take it all the way.”
But for coach Esquivel, taking it all the way begins with going back to the basics. Since arriving, he has brought a grassroots approach to preparing his team.
“We want to give these young men a complete understanding of the game,” Esquivel said. “From the fundamentals, to the theory, to the play implementation.”
This philosophy has been instituted not only on the practice field, but in the classroom as well. Esquivel and his coaching staff have been teaching their players off the field via the chalkboard.
“If they understand the game, they can play the game with more confidence, and the more confident you play the game, the more you let your true abilities come through.”
While the contributions of graduated seniors Luke Forvilly, Joel Warnick, Chauncey Lane, Keith Truswell and Matt Lincoln will be missed, the Warriors return a solid group of upperclassmen.
Junior Alex Swearingen is the probable choice at quarterback, and both coach and teammates seem to have confidence in his abilities.
“He is a good option quarterback,” Esquivel said. “He seems to be able to run well, and as far as his arm goes, he can hold his own.”
Massa agreed with his coach’s assessment.
“He knows the game and is really intense. He’s not afraid to take a hit and that’s what you need at that position,” Massa said.
Massa will likely lead the way in the backfield this year, splitting time at tailback and fullback with senior Dean Moore.
They will be running behind an offensive line led by senior guard Ezra Taylor.
“The line is definitely one of our strengths,” Esquivel said. “We have a good size line, which I heard is rare for this area and they’re all picking up the system really well.”
On defense, the team returns a powerhouse linebacking core comprised of Massa and Taylor, while the secondary will be anchored by corners Swearingen and Moore.
As always, the 2A will bring tough competition, and some of the players already have their calendars marked for their Sep. 29 homecoming game against rival Incline.
However, the coaching staff doesn’t want their players to get ahead of themselves.
“At this point, we’re not even looking at the first game,” Esquivel said. “We’re looking at putting our own team together before we can start looking at taking other teams apart.”
The Warriors will open the season Aug. 31 and while they are taking things one step at a time, Esquivel and his team are anticipating a successful year.
“I’ve got some positive feedback from the players, and they’re a lot more familiar with the competition then I am,” Esquivel said. “They seem to think we’ll make a real strong showing against anyone we line up against this year.”
9/8 Mammoth 1:30 p.m.
9/15 West Wendover 1:30 p.m.
9/21 at Carlin 7:30 p.m.
9/29 Incline (homecoming) 1:30 p.m.
10/5 at Hawthorne 7:30 p.m.
10/12 at Battle Mountain 7:30 p.m.
10/19 at Independence 1:30 p.m.
10/25 at Lovelock 7:30 p.m.
– At press time it was learned that WHS has added a game for 4 p.m. Aug. 31 against a private school from Sacramento.
Head Coach: Anthony Esquivel, first year
Last year: 5-4 (lost in first round of 2A playoffs)
Key returning players: Joey Massa, Justin Briscoe, Ezra Taylor, Dean Moore, Brian Jones and Alex Swearingen
Opener: Aug. 31 at home
Quote: “We can’t expect to walk on water the very first year, but what I keep telling these guys is pound for pound everyone of them will learn the game of football and will be a football player this year.” – coach Esquivel
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