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Warriors in deep with 3-0 Miners

Michael Traum

A sports season often resembles a fierce winter storm. Sometimes it’s a whiteout while other times the clouds break to reveal blue skies.

For the Whittell High football team, winless in three outings, the radar reveals a bleak forecast for this weekend. The Manogue Miners are coming to town. And with them – a blizzard.

“On paper, we probably don’t even belong on the same field. But no one plays on paper,” said Whittell coach Butch Cattanach, optimistic that his Warriors can at least hang tough in their biggest test so far.

But Cattanach’s hopes may be as short-lived as the time it takes to shovel off the welcome mat.

The Miners beat Yerington last weekend, 33-12, after tooling Rite of Passage, 58-6, and Fernley, 58-20, to open the season. Whittell lost two weeks ago to ROP, 26-0.

Add to that the loss of two-way starter Stephan Hambsch, the team’s top tackler and lead backfield blocker who’s out with an injured neck, and the Warriors find themselves in up to their chin straps.

“We know what (Manogue) can do, but can we stop them? We’re still trying to find players for our skill positions,” Cattanach said. “Losing Stephan really hurts. To have a chance, we need to hold (Manogue) to two touchdowns. But I just don’t know who picks up the slack on defense.”

The Miners boast a flurry of offensive weapons, led by running back Chris Russell, who rushed for 200-plus yards last weekend after sitting out the first two games. Cattanach plans to expand his offensive scheme in order to keep up.

“We’ve spread it out and we’re going to let Trent Gordon throw the football a lot more. The kids like it because they get more touches,” said Cattanach, who saw his running game break the 200-yard barrier for the first time last week. “I’d still put our frontline up against anybody in the league. And our running game is starting to come around.

“The kids are looking forward to being at home and the challenge of playing the best team in the division. We’ve had a good week of practice. We’re not supposed to win, so this could turn the whole season around. You never know.”

Game time is 1:30 p.m. in Zephyr Cove.


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