Whittell strong against Silver Stage | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Whittell strong against Silver Stage

Dan ThriftA Silver Stage defender tries to bring down Whittell High fullback Casey Canto on Thursday

Three good quarters it better than none at all.

Whittell’s football team played three quarters of a non-league game against the Silver Stage Night Hawks at home Thursday and took a 26-0 lead before the game was called due to a startling Night Hawk injury.

The Warriors scored their final touchdown with 1 minute, 30 seconds remaining in the third quarter on a 15-yard run by quarterback Nick Lowe to extend their lead.

Then, Night Hawks’ junior running back Tyson Kanalulu went down on the first play after the Warriors kickoff. He left the game, took a knee, then passed out a moment later.

Night Hawks’ coach Mike Hogan alerted officials and Tahoe Douglas Fire District medical personnel, who were present at the sidelines, and then instructed the referee to call the game.

Coaches said Kanalulu was transported the Barton Memorial Hospital. He was discharged Thursday evening.

A team largely considered junior varsity because it has no seniors and only 10 juniors, the Night Hawks recently joined NIAA 2A football. All of their games are nonleague and don’t count toward a division playoff.

Nor does the game count toward Whittell’s playoff hopes.

That, say Whittell players, caused many on the team to perform sub-par compared to how they play against more mature league teams.

“We could have done better,” Lowe said, who finished the day 12 of 22 for 128 yards and one touchdown pass. It’s his best performance in the last three games, and it was without the fourth quarter. “They were a good team, but we were a little lackadaisical.”

Senior wide receiver Brian Jones agreed.

“I don’t think we had the intensity,” he said. “We seemed kind of dead (after the first quarter), myself included.”

Jones had eight receptions Thursday, bringing his season total to 30. He had a 9-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter. He amassed 87 yards receiving.

Lowe was pressured by the Night Hawks on several plays and was sacked twice for 7 yards in losses.

Head Warrior coach Mike Evans said the line needs to work on protecting the middle.

Youthful opposition didn’t dissuade Casey Canto from running through the Night Hawks’ line like a locomotive. At one point, some in the audience fanned pulling on a train whistle and shouting, “Whoo Whoo!”

Canto, formerly a 210-pound lineman, switched to fullback last week due to a slew of Warrior injuries. He remains at fullback and ran 14 times for 97 yards, including a 3-yard touchdown run with 2:10 remaining in the second quarter.

It’s the second time Canto has touched the ball since Pop Warner and his first-ever touchdown.

“Today was great. All the holes were there. I hit them hard and executed,” Canto said.

Canto also agreed that the Warriors’ intensity could have been better, and that lacking such enthusiasm was part of the reason the Warriors lost to Hawthorne.

Whittell faces Incline in its last home game Nov. 2. It must win by 11 points in order to make the playoffs.

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