Zephyrs have tough test vs. Pates Freedom
Heading into the second half last week, Whitehall had a 15-9 lead as well as momentum against Central Catholic as they appeared poised for its first win of the season.
Unfortunately, it didn’t hold up.
The Zephyrs suffered a safety on a high snap that went into the end zone and allowed a late score that sent them to a 16-15 defeat.
“We ended up losing at the end,” said Whitehall head coach Matt Senneca. “We didn’t stop them and we didn’t score.
“We went out and battled and did some positive things out there. Our kids played hard and that’s all we can really do.”
The Zephyrs (0-4) scored before halftime when quarterback Quinn Wentling handed off to running back Ali Barkley, who flipped the ball to receiver Bryce Bashore on a reverse. Bashore then hit Wentling with a three-yard pass for the go-ahead score.
Central Catholic (2-2) rallied to regain to regain the lead when junior quarterback Matt Rauscher scored on a one-yard plunge and the extra point gave the Vikings a 16-15 advantage with roughly eight minutes left in the contest.
The Zephyrs couldn’t manufacture a winning drive over the next two possessions.
Wentling, making his first varsity start, completed 16-of-31 passes for 141 yards. He took over for senior Allan Nanoah, who moved out to wide receiver.
“It was a coach’s decision,” said Senneca about the move. “I thought he did a nice job. We thought it was best for the team. He played with confidence out there.”
Barkley rushed for 85 yards on the night, and he raised his season total to 478 yards with six touchdowns through the first four games.
“He’s a big part of our offense,” added Senneca. “Our main goal is to run the ball. He had been running hard and getting the job done. He has to keep doing what he is doing out there for us.”
Barkley believes his team can turn the corner.
“My season has been going OK,” he said. “My team has started slow. But if we keep working, we will get to where we should be.”
Despite the team’s start, Senneca does see some positives.
“We are doing some good things in areas, and we are struggling in other areas,” he said. “We just have to work on tackling and everyone doing their responsibilities out there.”
The Zephyrs’ road won’t get any easier this week when they host Freedom (3-1) Friday night. The Patriots are coming off their first defeat of the season when they suffered a 35-33 shootout victory to Nazareth last week.
Senneca doesn’t expect to see anything than the standard from the Patriots.
“We know what is coming,” said Senneca. “There is no reason to think we’ll see anything different. They plug some new kids in and they are still a strong team.
“We know we’ll have to be at our best and it will be a big challenge for our kids.”