Whittell football gets its first glimpse of fear | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Whittell football gets its first glimpse of fear

Darin Olde, Tribune Sportswriter

Now, nearly three weeks after Mike Evans made his first mark in the Warrior’s playbook, the team has its first glimpse of fear.

Forty, 40-meter sprints on the football field — that’s what Evans told his players he made the 1999 3A state championship Bishop Manogue High School football team do during dry-land conditioning.

And that’s what he told his players could happen Aug. 15, the first day the NIAA allows football clubs in Nevada to start mandatory practice.

It has a young cadre of George Whittell High School football players who have never done squats, lunges or cleans singing both the Blues and songs of praise under their new coach.

The first few months for any new coach will likely be the toughest, but Evans’ enthusiasm and energetic personality sparked fire under the 6-10 players routinely attending the the weight lifting and dry-land training programs.

Among other things, he’s taught the younger players how to work their legs, and put the older players on a tightly managed routine. He’s their spotter, coach and motivational speaker all wrapped in one.

“It’s really good,” said senior Jake Summers about the offseason workout. “It’s way better than previous years. He knows what he’s doing.”

And he has the prize trophies to prove it.

Evans has two NIAA state championships, one as a Bishop Manogue junior in 1982, and one as the defensive coordinator in 1999.

He started coaching shortly after graduating from the University of Montana, but his career took off at Bishop Manogue from 1990 to 1999.

Evans now teaches math at Little Flower Elementary School in Reno. The commute to Zephyr Cove takes time, but the principal at Little Flower is somewhat of a football fan.

Two days pushing and one day pulling has been the weight-lifting routine so far. The dozen or so players, which mostly consists of freshman, has been doing dry-land training after hitting the weights.

“One of these days we’ll do conditioning before they do squats, then they’ll love life,” Evans said, hustling players from set to set in Whittell’s weight room Thursday.

The Warrior turnout, he concedes, hasn’t been spectacular, but the summer workout program isn’t what Whittell students are used to.

“These kids have never done this before … they’ve never done anything with there legs. All sports are played with their waist on down,” he said.

The low numbers, however, has provided Evans with extra time to work on the playbook, arrange tentative fund-raising plans and talk to other Whittell coaches about supporting the team.

And for a team that has had four head coaches in four years, Evans will essentially be building a program from scratch. But that may be the way he wants it.

Better, sometimes, to start from zero than try and repair a tired wagon.

“When we do our conditioning its pretty tough, so once the mandatory practices start we think he’s going to kill us …” said senior Joe Ilk, who will play defensive tackle and tackle. “But it might be good because we might be more of a team this year, maybe.”

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