By Lukas Eggen Ely Times Staff Writer
The White Pine High football team dropped to 0-2, falling to Battle Mountain 40-12 last Friday. The Bobcats struggled to contain Battle Mountain’s offense, which extended numerous plays to lead to its scoring drives.
“(They have) a very good quarterback,” coach James Williams said. “But our defensive discipline, especially in the area of containment and open field tackling is just non-existent right now.”
Battle Mountain saw plays extended and runs to the edge go for big chunks of yards. Williams, who called timeout after Battle Mountain’s first touchdown drive in the first quarter, said he tried various combinations of players, but the results were the same. For the players, the first two games signified a failure to translate practices into games.
“It’s just mental errors,” senior lineman Seth Lester said. “Everyone is playing hard and working hard and showing up. It’s a lack of executing on Fridays. Our number one problem is we don’t contain the edges and let the side runs keep going. We work on that one mental issue and we can compete with anyone in our division.”
While dropping the first two games of the season isn’t what the team was hoping for, the game provided, for many of its players, its first taste of varsity football action.
“That shows in a really young team like we have,” senior Emmitt Finicum said. “We have underclassmen and kids who haven’t played before.”
While the Bobcats struggled to contain on defense, the run game excelled, rushing for more than 200 yards, led by Cole Burdick with 102.
“Offensively I was pretty pleased,” Williams said. “The running backs ran really hard. We have some things and had some mental lapses, like a false start on a first down, but our power running game is working really well at the moment.”
That could become even more important as starting quarterback Mike Williams was knocked out of the game late in the first half on a late hit. Williams suffered a concussion and his timetable to return is not known, though Williams said they will “move slowly” with his return.
In his absence, White Pine played both Burdick and Levi Winsryg at quarterback, depending on the package.
Up next for the Bobcats is the team’s first road game of the season against Lincoln County, a game that players are excited to get going.
“It’s going to be an intense game knowing it’s the seniors one last chance to leave on a good note,” Finicum said.
Lincoln County enters the game also looking for its first win, losing to Enterprise and Agassi Prep in its first two games of the season.
How successful White Pine does will come back to one thing, Williams said.
“I told them it all starts with our discipline on defense,” Williams said. “When our offense gets the opportunity, it does well. They get in a good rhythm. Our defense has to step it up.”
Besides being a rivalry game, it also provides a chance for the Bobcats to gain confidence and help bring momentum to its season.
“All we need is that one big game, that confidence booster,” Lester said.
The question will be whether White Pine can bring what they accomplish in practice and perform under the lights on Friday night.
“I told these guys tonight they have the potential if they fix the little things,” Williams said. “We don’t have any major issues. If we can fix those things, we have the ability to beat teams like Battle Mountain and beat them by quite a bit.”
Although White Pine is 0-2, Lincoln County provides a chance for a fresh start for the team and a chance to beat an old rival.
“It’s the Lincoln rivalry,” Lester said. “We’re going to go lay some wood and play hard.”
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