Whittell football opens NIAA season against Tonopah
Today is the first day of high school football in Nevada, and the Warrior football program wants today to be its day.
The George Whittell High School Warriors face the Tonopah Muckers today on their home field at 3 p.m. in the opening day of Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association football, and their first game of the season.
The Warriors hope to improve on a winless 2001 season that resulted in a single touchdown.
This year’s program, however, is composed of a new, young team, under a new set of coaches with an entirely new outlook.
“They’re hungry for a win. They’ll do what it takes. They’ve shown that the last two weeks,” said Mike Evans, the team’s new head coach, following the end of Wednesday’s practice.
Evans will start Nick Lowe, a 5-8, 135-pound senior, as the Warriors quarterback.
Senior Alex Swearingen at 6-3, 175 pounds will start at halfback, with senior Warrior powerhouse Jake Summers at fullback.
Lowe will look to Brian Jones and Matt Johnson at wide receiver, and Parker Fox, at 6-0 and 160 pounds, will start as tight end.
Evans spent much of last weekend scouting Tonopah football, and noting the Muckers’ offensive strategy, which is a Deep I back formation, mostly built around running back Brandon Flaming.
Flaming played extensively in the backfield last year and had a season-opening 123-yard game against state finalist Battle Mountain. He’s expected to be the Muckers main ball carrier this year.
The team’s starting offense spent the first half of Monday’s practice working with the information Evans brought back.
Casey Canto, a senior offensive and defensive lineman at 6-1 and 210 pounds, said the team has been working hard on the Wing-T defense and executing plays the team hopes will be effective against the Muckers.
“We’ve been working on our no-huddle offense … and coach Evans has been calling plays every 6 seconds (during practice),” he said.
Canto said he feels good about how the team is progressing.
“I have a little bit of nasal congestion, but that won’t keep me from laying guys on their backs (today),” he said.
But the Warriors will be missing a few strong players.
The team will start without Ian Haessly, a key 212-pound lineman who did not meet eligibility requirements. He’s expected to return shortly, but not before game No. 1. Tyler Kolstad, a 6-4, 200-pound tight end and defensive lineman, is also ineligible.
To help boost the team’s energy today, Robbie Jones, a football player on Whittell’s 1991 division title team, will talk about his experience with the team to get the players revved up.
“We think we’re going to surprise Tonopah …” Evans said. “They’re not going to have a clue what we’re doing.”
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