Whittell has tough opener | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Whittell has tough opener

Mike Traum

It’s a heck of a way to start the season.

Boulder City comes to town on Saturday to meet Whittell in its 1997 football opener. With a B.C. roster of 35 versus Whittell’s 18 and an attack that could leave local fans thinking they were at a drag race, the Warriors know they’ll have to be no less than perfect.

“It’s a big game. It doesn’t give us a chance to ease into the season. We don’t get much time to see how good we are. We’ve got to be good right of way,” said Whittell coach Butch Cattanach.

The Warriors will field eight or nine players who have never played varsity football. And despite scoring nine touchdowns in a scrimmage last weekend against Portola and Turlong, Cattanach knows that the real thing is very different.

“They’ve got to grow up in a hurry. We’re going up against a really talented team with lots of numbers and good size,” Cattanach said. “The kids have worked really hard and practices have been very physical this week.

“I’m glad it’s finally here. I think our veterans will rise to the occasion. I just wish I had a better feeling about how the young kids will do. Hopefully playing at home will help us out.”

The Warriors’ youth movement begins at quarterback, where sophomore Trent Gordon gets the start. A good athlete with up-and-coming skills, look for Gordon to get a good workout handing off to his veteran backfield of Matt Raab, Ryan McMillen and Stephan Hambsch. It’ll be no secret where the ball’s going, as tackle Devon Apocotos could open holes on as many as 30 to 40 plays.

When Whittell does throw, eight to 10 times maximum, according to Cattanach, play-action tosses against B.C.’s five-man front will hopefully give Gordon looks into single coverage, where Adrian Norman will be a main target.

“I want us to chew up the clock. We’re not the kind of team that can come back if we get down early,” Cattanach said. “We’re going to send as many people to the point of attack at the same time. If we control the game that way, we’re going to be there (in the end). But we can’t have turnovers, penalties and stupid mistakes.”

On defense, expect Whittell’s traditional split-four look. Although B.C. is also starting a sophomore QB in its wing-T alignment, the Eagles return running back Mike Cox – a senior with 4.5 speed who scored four times in 41-25 victory over Whittell in 1996, a contest which was 26-25 after three quarters.

Game time is approximately 1 p.m. at Whittell High School in Zephyr Cove.

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