Winless Warriors face Lovelock | TahoeDailyTribune.com
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Winless Warriors face Lovelock

Mike Traum

So just what does the Whittell High football team look to for inspiration vs. Lovelock?

There are certainly plenty of things that could keep the Warriors (0-5) down entering Friday night’s contest. The record, for one, a mark that fifth-year coach Butch Cattanach hasn’t experienced in his 20-plus years of calling gridiron shots. The bus ride, a three-hour trek into the depths of Nevada’s desert. The weather, guaranteed to be bone chilling. Or the thought of losing again, since the Mustangs (3-2) have only lost to tough Northern Nevada 3A foes, North Tahoe and Yerington.

But Whittell appears to be upbeat, knowing that any positive developments would serve as forward steps in a season that can be described, so far, as disappointing.

“There’s not much to talk about. We haven’t proved ourselves to anyone, let alone ourselves, yet,” Cattanach said. “We’ll take anything positive right now and have to take the little victories.

“But we had the best practice we’ve had (Wednesday) in about four weeks and the kids are still working hard.”

Effective tackling, stopping the long gain, hitting the wide open receiver and opening reasonable running lanes would equal little victories for the Warriors – all of which have been frustratingly elusive this season.

But probably the most difficult thing to swallow so far has been the ineffectiveness of the Warriors defense, as opposing teams have rammed the ball down the throats of Whittell, which gave up close to 450 yards rushing last week in a 38-0 loss to Incline. The Highlanders didn’t bother throwing the ball – not once. Add to that an offense that hasn’t been able to move the ball with any regularity and it adds up to a mouth-piece souring statistic – in five games, Whittell has been outscored, 167-30, or a 33-5 average, including two shutouts.

Things don’t look much more promising this week, as the Mustangs run a very disciplined option offense, keyed by two tackles who weigh 270 and 280 pounds, respectively.

“We’ve been working on it all week. (Against the option) someone has to have specific responsibilities. We’re going to slant to where we think they’ll run. We know where we have to be, it’s just a matter of getting there and making the tackle,” said Cattanach, whose squad took turns in practice smothering a huge tackling dummy in hopes of improving that very weak area.

On offense, sophomore quarterback Trent Gordon will get the start, but senior do-all Ryan McMillen will get some snaps, since fullback Stephen Hambsch returns full strength to the backfield. The new look should give McMillen, the usual tailback, the choice to run or pass in a sprint-out type configuration.

Game time is 7:30 p.m. KOWL (590) AM is scheduled to broadcast he game live.


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