Slow start costs Whittell football in 36-30 loss to Virginia City
ZEPHYR COVE — A big early deficit proved too much to overcome for the Whittell football team in a battle of 1A West League unbeatens Friday, Sept. 23. The Warriors fell 36-30 to Virginia City, ending their streak of 12 straight regular season victories.
“Early mistakes cost us,” Warriors coach Phil Bryant said.
Whittell (3-1, 1-1 1A West) trailed by 20 points early in the second quarter before settling in against the Muckers. Virginia City (4-0, 2-0) scored on its first two possessions Friday night, and went up 20-0 on a 19-yard touchdown pass from Isaiah Yoder to Wyatt Pieretti with eight minutes left in the first half.
“We got behind early with people out of place and trying to do too much instead of just playing their position,” Bryant said.
The Warriors got on the board on the next drive with a 1-yard touchdown and two-point conversion from senior Dismas Womack. That was the first of two second-quarter scores for Whittell — the other was a 37-yard pass from Womack to sophomore Dalton Warswick — and the hosts went into the break trailing 28-16.
“After falling behind, we settled down and played like who we are,” Bryant said.
Whittell took the opening drive of the second half 67 yards in two minutes for a score, cutting Virginia City’s lead to 28-24 on a 6-yard scoring run and two-point conversion from Womack. But the Muckers answered with a score on the next drive to take a 12-point lead into the fourth quarter.
“We liked how the kids responded to the situation,” Bryant said. “Once we settled down, we were able to shut down their inside runs and get yardage with our offense.”
In the fourth quarter Whittell found the end zone early to make it a one-possession game, but couldn’t get any closer than six points. After junior Corey Huber ran for a 1-yard score with nine minutes left, the game finished scoreless — allowing Virginia City to prevail and remain undefeated.
“We uncharacteristically missed tackles and blocks. A lot of that was simply that they executed well and we didn’t,” Bryant said. “They’re a good, physical team.”
With a chance to tie the game late, Womack was intercepted and the visitors ran out the clock. The loss was Whittell’s first in the regular season since Oct. 30, 2014 — also a home defeat against Virginia City.
Womack finished 7-of-13 passing for 160 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions in defeat — and ran for 42 yards and two scores on 14 carries. Huber led Whittell with 48 rushing yards and a touchdown, while Warswick caught three passes for 108 yards and a score.
For Virginia City, Yoder was 4-of-6 for 60 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions to go along with 75 yards rushing and a score. Sam Strahan ran for a game-high 128 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries, and Ireland Franklin had 68 yards rushing and two scores.
Whittell returns to action Saturday, Oct. 1, at Smith Valley (2-2, 0-2). Kickoff is scheduled for noon.