Warrior gridders go for third playoff seed | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Warrior gridders go for third playoff seed

With the Warriors alone in third and Lovelock sewing up the final Northern Nevada 2A football playoff spot after a forfeit by Incline in last week’s game against the Mustangs, Friday’s game has lost a little luster.

But, there is still something to play for -the right not to play undefeated Battle Mountain.

The winner between Lovelock and Whittell will travel to Carlin, while the loser heads out to visit the Longhorns.

“I like our chances against Carlin the second time,” Warrior head coach Larry Reilly said. “I’d rather go out there if I had my druthers.”

One thing going the Warriors’ way is that nine starters on the Mustangs have been suspended for the rest of the season for off-the-field incidents.

Lovelock was forced to bring up some players from the junior varsity and press them into service.

“It’s really changed what we doing on both sides of the ball,” Mustangs coach Joe Yanni said.

Some of the players who are no longer on the team are skill position players. However, Whittell still has to contend with a strong running game from Lovelock.

Led by Buzz Brooks and Curtis Irwin, the Mustangs have a strong option attack. A strong running game is not unfamiliar to the Warriors. In the Oct. 21 game against Independence, the Warrior defense shut down the Colts running attack in the second half.

“We played well all game,” Reilly said. “With the exception of the one long run, our defense really played well and stopped the run.”

With the Warrior defense coming on and the offense clicking on all cylinders, Whittell is poised to go into the playoffs with a two-game winning streak.

“I feel that our offense can score at any time,” senior running back Luke Forvilly said. “And with our defense playing well, we’re going to be hard to stop.”

The key to each team succeeding on both sides of the ball is line play. The Warriors recently moved Joel Warnick from running back to tight-end to help open holes for Forvilly and Joey Massa, who had his best game of the season against Independence, running for 68 yards and setting up the winning score.

“The line is really doing a great job right now,” Forvilly said. “Joey was running up the middle very well (against the Colts).”

Lovelock’s defensive line was loaded with big, experienced players before the suspensions, but now there are some younger players playing there. Yanni knows his linemen are young, but is hopeful that with one week under their belts, the line will come together against the Warriors.

“We were pretty dominating in the previous games,” Yanni said. “Hopefully, these kids will be fired up to have a good game.”

Yanni knows the key to the success of his team is stopping the big three in Forvilly, Warnick and senior quarterback Keith Truswell.

“We have to contain those three,” Yanni said. “If they get going, they can hurt us.”

Truswell, by his own admission, did not throw the ball very well against the Colts. Consequently, he’s primed for a big game.

“Keith always follows what he thinks is a bad game with a very good one,” Reilly said. “He threw the ball very well this week.”

The Warriors and Mustangs square off at 1 p.m. at Warrior field Friday.

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