Whittell celebrates Lisa Maloff, football team crushes Smith Valley at new digs
ZEPHYR COVE, Nev. — Lisa Maloff grabbed the microphone Friday night at a celebration in her honor, before George Whittell High School’s first home football game in over a year, and told the 300 or so people in attendance how much she appreciated all of them.
That’s normal for the Angel of Tahoe. Maloff donated over $3 million so the school could have a new athletic facility and all she wanted to do was give more through kind words.
At the end of her speech, she finally gave herself a little, much deserved, credit.
“I’m so proud of all of you,” she said after fighting back tears during the outpour of appreciation. “And I’m proud of me too,” she added with a smile.
That comment left the applauding crowd laughing.
She also wouldn’t let the football players get away without taking a team photo. She hugged many and they all gathered around her.
“The way her eyes lit up the second she saw the guys was just incredible,” said Whittell head coach Doug Patton.
“I’ve known Lisa for a long time and she’s an awesome lady,” said Whittell senior quarterback Trent Dingman. “Everything she has done for the community is amazing and this is just one of the many things.”
Following the ceremony, the Warriors made their way down the shiny new aluminum bleachers, across the new all-weather track, onto the new grass turf and proceeded to light up the new scoreboard that features the celebrated guest with the writing “Lisa Maloff Athletic Facility.”
The Warriors, playing at home for the first time since the 2016 season, rolled to a 60-24 non-league 8-man win over the Smith Valley Bulldogs.
Whittell athletic director Phil Bryant, like many great coaches and athletes after they back away from the game, is a natural in the press box. He stepped down after last season as football coach, and entertained as he accurately gave play-by-play throughout the game.
He announced the team’s lineup and nicknamed his new head coach Doug “General” Patton, and told him he needed to work on his dance moves following the coach’s post-game performance while celebrating with the team and crowd. The venerable Bryant also named Whittell’s dynamic duo of Dalton Warswick and Isaiah Womack, “Thunder and Lightning.”
They all lived up to their new names. Patton guided his troops to victory while Thunder, Warwick, set the physical tone and Lightning, Womack, scored touchdowns in the blink of an eye.
But the Warriors freight train of an offense didn’t happen from the start. The game was tied late in the first half before Whittell turned into a juggernaut in the third quarter.
Smith Valley got on the scoreboard first two minutes into the game to lead 6-0.
Whittell got even just over a minute later when Dingman passed to Womack in the flat and the speedster sprinted uncontested 26 yards into the endzone to tie the game.
The Warriors grabbed the lead late in the first 12 minutes.
In the time it took to even think about ordering a hamburger or hot dog freshly cooked on a new barbecues and served from the new concession/press box building, Womack took a handoff and raced 73 yards for a touchdown.
Smith Valley tied the game on the first play of the second quarter. The score remained 12-12 until Warswick raced around the end 33 yards for an 18-12 lead.
Smith Valley again battled back to tie the game with just 33 seconds left. The game seemed like it would be tied at halftime.
Whittell’s coaches saw that a Smith Valley cornerback was biting on double moves and they decided to cash in on the last play of the half.
Warriors receiver Dylan Wade started fast from the snap, acted like he would stop or cut, then jetted by the defender who bit on the fake.
Dingman fired a perfect strike that Wade hauled in and sprinted away from all pursuers 48 yards for a touchdown and 24-18 lead.
The play brought a massive celebration from Whittell’s bench and lead to an avalanche of second half fireworks. What happened in the third quarter was a blur of red Warriors jerseys running for touchdowns left and right.
Warswick ran for a 28-yard score 58 seconds into the second half.
Two minutes later Dingman hit Womack for a 10-yard TD.
But the real flurry of touchdowns came in the last two minutes.
Dingman ran 46 yards for a touchdown on a quarterback draw with 1:50 left in the third.
Womack scored on a 37-yard run after the Warriors recovered a fumble with 46 seconds left.
After Smith Valley scored on a quick touchdown pass, Womack returned the ensuing kickoff 72 yards to finish the scoring and start the clock a running.
“It was a really fun game,” Wade said. “We all came together as a team and came out and were ready to get this W. We were ready to play on our home field in front of our fans. It was really exciting. The crowd was really alive. Everyone was in the game the whole time.”
Womack rushed for 166 yards on seven carries, caught four passes for 46 yards and totaled five touchdowns.
Warswick gained 79 yards and two TDs on six attempts. Wade caught six passes for 125 yards and Dingman completed 13 of 22 passes for 188 yards and three scores.
Whittell next will play against Excel Christian at 1 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 29, in Sparks.
The Warriors (2-2) after two straight losses wanted to send a message to the rest of 1A teams that they are going to be no pushover.
“We started out shaky, the defense didn’t know what it was doing,” Dingman said. “But in the second half we cleaned things up. Offensively, especially, in the second half we looked really sharp. In that third quarter we just buried them. The O-line blocked great. The past few weeks we’ve looked soft and we needed to send a message to the rest of the league.
“And this is the best crowd we’ve ever had since I’ve been here,” Dingman added. “It was great to have everybody out here supporting us. I’m happy we have this field and get to share it with the rest of the community.”