One chance left for winless Whittell |

One chance left for winless Whittell

Michael Traum

One game remaining, one more chance for a win.

It all comes down to tonight, when the Whittell High football team (0-8) closes out the season at playoff-bound Yerington (6-2). A loss would equal just the third winless season in more than 30 years of football at the school. The ‘0-fer’ years came in 1967 and 1977.

“You don’t ever think that you’re not going to win a football game when you start the season off. But if you win the last game, you forget about the rest of it,” said Whittell coach Butch Cattanach.

On the season, the Warriors have shown signs of being worthy competitors, as was the case last week when they led Pahrump at the half, 7-6, before falling, 32-7. But the second half has continually hosted their demise, as a lack of numbers and injuries has allowed the opposition to run up some impressive offensive numbers.

To date, Whittell has been outscored 273-37, or an average of approximately 34-4.

“Most teams make good adjustments against us by halftime, find out what our weaknesses are and really start to attack. We’ll line it up and hopefully we can play for more than two quarters without things falling apart,” Cattanach said.

Cattanach warns that while Yerington may sit some of its starters in preparation for the playoffs, Whittell’s hill climb won’t be any easier. Last year, the Warriors earned a postseason berth by knocking the Lions out of a playoff chance. And he’s sure they haven’t forgotten.

“They have some paybacks. We knocked them out last year so we could go. I’m sure they’ve been talking about that and that their coach hasn’t allowed them to slack off. And they play Truckee in the first round of the playoffs, so he’s got to get some confidence,” Cattanach said. “The only thing I worry about is being embarrassed in our last game. I don’t want that to happen to the kids. We just want to play tough and not give up.

“We want to play with emotion and a lot of pride. This is probably the last time these seven seniors will get to play in an organized football game.”

That thought isn’t lost on the seven – Stephan Hambsch, Matt Raab, Ryan McMillen, Shayne Warnick, Denny Bashaw, Jeff Falk and Devin Apocotos.

“There’s not much we can do now about the rest of the season. It hasn’t been too fun to go 0-fer. We’d like to win this game a lot,” McMillen said. “It’s hard to look forward to playing a playoff team. But I’m sure we can rise to the occasion if we come out and play with our ability.”

Added Hambsch, “Frankly, I’m not worried about being selfish, about it being my last game. I worried about our team having fun. These young guys have more years ahead of them and if they go into them used to losing like we are now, they’re not going to get anything out of it. Our senior year can’t be salvaged, but their (careers) can. That’s what concerns me. These guys need to know what it feels like to win.”

Game time is 7:30 p.m. in Yerington.

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