Whittell wins wild opener, preps for Eureka
ZEPHYR COVE, Nev. — Whittell head coach Doug Patton nearly got whiplash in his first game as the Warriors’ boss.
When describing last week’s 60-56 win over Mineral County on the road, Patton said it was back and forth so many times it almost looked like his neck was sore from the experience.
“It was crazy, really crazy,” Patton said Wednesday at practice. “It was back and forth, back and forth. They came back, no one could stop each other in the first half.”
Whittell battled with just 14 players while Mineral had about 40 or so said Patton and many Warriors never left the field. Whittell is battling some injuries and eligibility issues.
Offenses for both teams were featured throughout, but it was a pair of defensive stands at the end that made it more exciting.
Whittell was stopped with about 1:30 left in the game and Mineral went on the hunt for a victory.
But the Serpents were stopped cold when Warriors cornerback Dylan Wade went up and picked off a pass with under a minute left sending the Whittell contingent into celebration.
“All 14 of us we were louder than the 1,000 people on their side,” said Patton of the game’s first turnover.
“Dylan’s pick was awesome, and he played hurt the entire second half,” said Whittell senior Trent Dingman, who played quarterback for much of the game and threw three touchdown passes. “They were a lot better than we expected, better than when we saw them this summer at our scrimmage and passing tournament. They changed their tendencies, but still we knew what we were doing at the end. And our defense stepped up big with Dylan’s pick to seal the game. It was tiring, but everybody had to step up and work through being tired. We don’t have the players they did.”
Whittell’s returning first team all-leaguers, Dalton Warswick and Isaiah Womack, were pretty much unstoppable on the night, gaining about 450 yards rushing yards combined.
Warswick ran for three TDs and also had 75 yards receiving and two scores and Womack scored three rushing touchdowns. Dingman completed 8 of 10 passes for about 150 yards. Wade at receiver made a touchdown reception.
Patton liked the leadership and the way his team came together and fought the entire time despite being short-handed.
“We came together as a team, people picked each other up,” Patton said. “Some guys were playing positions they’ve never played before. The on-the-field leadership was the best I’ve ever seen. The way we bonded, we were not willing to let them beat us.”
The coach also got to see first-hand the duties of a head coach during the long bus ride and at game time. The team had to leave early due to bus scheduling and got to Hawthorne, Nevada early in the afternoon, several hours before kickoff.
They spent their time visiting the Hawthorne Ordnance Museum and took a team photo on a tank. And when kickoff finally arrived, it all happened so fast.
He’s hoping playing against Eureka won’t be as stressful, but is prepared for anything.
Patton was the defensive coordinator for the past several years and knows Eureka well. The Warriors beat the Vandals twice last season, including the first round of the playoffs.
“It was a lot, but I was too over-prepared to be worried and was too busy to be nervous,” Patton said. “It came and went really well. I would like to see us continue to come together this week.”