Warriors hit the road again
The “Road” Warriors are at it again.
This time the third-seeded Whittell High football team has to go out to Carlin and take on the Railroaders on their turf Saturday at 1 p.m.
The first time the squads battled on the gridiron it was at Whittell. The Warriors fell 22-10 back on Sept. 23rd. This time around, they want to rewrite the score in their favor.
“If we beat Carlin, that’ll be the first revenge for us,” Whittell senior Chauncey Lane said. “But we can’t get ahead of ourselves. We have to worry about them first.”
The Warriors led the first meeting 10-6 in the fourth quarter before the Railroaders’ running game exploded for two touchdowns late. Led by tailback Andy Bicandi, who ran for 1,100 yards during the season, fullback Steve McCool and quarterback Devin Meshepski, the Railroaders have one of the best ground games in the 2A division. Head coach Larry Reilly knows his defense will have to control them to be successful.
“Guard to tackle is where you’ll see the game played,” the coach said. “They’re going to run inside the tackles all day if we don’t stop them.”
One key ingredient to stopping the ground attack may be missing for the Warriors. Senior linebacker/tight end Joel Warnick left the final game of the regular season late with a high ankle sprain, and may not be ready for Saturday’s first-round playoff game.
Warnick missed practice all week, going to physical therapy every day, but is hoping to be ready on Saturday.
“I still have a little bit of a limp,” said Warnick, who was on crutches for two days. “I have to play on Saturday, I’ll just tape it up real tight and see if I can go.”
If Warnick can’t go, two very reliable replacements will play in his stead. Senior Mike Kiger will fill in at linebacker and freshman Nick Summers will play tight end.
“He’s said he’s going to play,” Lane said. “But if he can’t, Mikey and Nick will fill in nicely.”
Warnick knows his potential replacements will fill in admirably if needed.
“They’ve both played there before,” the injured star said. “I know they will do fine.”
Most of the practices during the week have been defensively oriented, in hopes to stop the trio of runners for the Railroaders.
“Their quarterback is pretty dangerous,” Lane said. “He’s short, but he’s pretty quick.
“We’ve been going over a lot of defense to stop him.”
The Warriors have a pretty formidable running attack of their own. Tailbacks Joey Massa and Luke Forvilly have provided a nice 1-2 punch all season long, especially with the strong running of Massa, who has put great performances together back-to-back.
The junior rushed for 68 yards and set up the winning score two weeks ago against Independence, and ran for 70 yards and two scores in the final game against Lovelock.
“We’re expecting a lot out of our running game,” Lane said. “Joey’s done a great job on the inside and Luke has the quickness on the outside.”
But the Warriors are not going remain ground-bound for the whole contest, hoping to spread the Carlin defense out by throwing the ball to Lane and Forvilly.
“We’re going to try spread it around,” Lane said.
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