Whittell High football coming off winning season; expecting more competition this season
The Whittell Warriors football team is getting ready to hit the gridiron and tackle another season in hopes of making it to the big dance again.
The Warriors are coming off a string of successful seasons, with its most recent effort being last year’s 9-2 record, overall, that was topped off with a Nevada 1A playoff appearance.
“We have a fair amount of returning starters,” said Phil Bryant, Whittell head football coach. “But there are still some critical positions that need to be filled — quarterback, number one.”
Whittell graduated Dismas Womack, one of its top all-around athletes and last year’s starting QB, and Bryant said the two top contenders to fill his spot each have unique strengths, but a little more time is needed before they will have their man. Juniors Trent Dingman and Isaiah Womack have been rotating in and out at QB.
“Trent throws the ball really well,” said Bryant. “I think we can up our passing numbers and Trent can do a really good job for us there. He’s a really hard worker and has done a lot to get his skill level up.”
Bryant said that Womack doesn’t have the arm that Dingman does, but has a lot of speed and maneuverability that make him a running threat at the QB spot.
“Isaiah is like an extra running back when he’s back there,” said Bryant.
There will be some familiar names returning to help keep the Warriors ranked as a top contender. Junior Dalton Warswick and senior Corey Huber racked up some impressive rushing numbers last season.
The running backs were the No. 2 and 3 rushers, respectively, at 965 and 714 yards each.
“We’re looking pretty solid at the running back position,” said Bryant. “Dalton and Corey have been two of the top rushers in the league each year, and Corey actually led the league in rushing as a freshman.”
Bryant said one of the last pieces of the offensive puzzle is getting some of the younger guys on the offensive line to step up and fill in the holes.
“One of our biggest needs right now is to finding some offensive lineman that execute at the varsity level,” said Bryant. “We have an all-league player returning in Connor Huber, so that’s one of our solid offensive players. The center spot and our other guard spot are up in the air — getting those spots nailed down is going to be critical in our success.”
The overall offensive effort is shifting a little, too, according to Bryant. He said they may have less ground game this season and focus more on passing.
“We’ve basically been a running team in the past, running out of tight sets,” said Bryant. “We have a lot more in our spread option offense now.”
Bryant said his defensive coordinator, Doug Patton, has been reporting a lot of positive things about his end of things and is looking to build on the strong defensive anchors they already have in place.
“We’ve got to get stronger with our frontline defense,” said Bryant. “We’ve had penetrators before that could break through and disrupt the offense, but we don’t really have that this year.”
Although Whittell has managed winning seasons in recent years, Bryant said the league is always improving so they have to stay on their toes to remain a contendor.
“The toughest part of our schedule is at the end, when we have Mineral County and Virginia City,” said Bryant. “I think everybody in the league has stepped up their game with coaching and solid ball players. We’re looking at a much more competitive league than what we had last year.”
The Warriors officially begin the 2017 season at Mammoth High, Aug. 25.