Whitney's Gimenez coaching nonstop this football season

Published: Saturday, Oct. 13, 2012 - 12:00 am | Page 6C

Mike Gimenez's voice is hoarse these days.

It's not from just coaching Whitney High School's football team, which takes a 5-1 record into this afternoon's Capital Athletic League game at Rio Americano.

Gimenez is working overtime this season.

He's helping to coach the Whitney Junior Wildcats youth Mighty Mites that includes his 7-year-old son Jax.

"We run practices Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings and play on Saturdays," Gimenez said. "So just about every day is double days for me. But it's great. The little kids are so enjoyable to coach. I'm teaching basic fundamentals, and they're like sponges."

Gimenez runs a much more sophisticated operation at Whitney, one reason the Wildcats have been a perennial power almost since the school opened in 2005.

Whitney has gone 55-23, won three league titles and a Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV title in 2008.

But this year's Whitney team has flown under the radar now that quarterback Jake Rodrigues is running the scout team at Oregon and tight end Jalen Cope-Fitzpatrick is playing on special teams at USC.

This season Whitney is led by senior offensive and defensive linemen Andrew Sopinski (6-foot-3, 265 pounds), Aaron Froidevaux (6-4, 285), Tony Coehlo (6-3, 245) and Cody Johnsrud (6-1, 210).

On offense, they help pave the way for complementary backs Sutter Choisser (734 rushing yards, 12 touchdowns), and Kwane Wilkinson (395 yards, two scores). Junior quarterback Drew Romo has thrown for 690 passing yards and four touchdowns.

Defensively, the Wildcats have made dramatic strides. allowing just eight points a game. Last year, the Wildcats gave up nearly 20 points a game, in 2010 nearly 30 points.

Whitney also has forced 13 fumbles and intercepted seven passes while fumbling only twice and throwing one interception.

Whitney's only loss was 6-0 to rival Rocklin on Sept. 7 in the annual Quarry Bowl, where the Wildcats were held to a season-low 96 rushing yards. Since then, the Wildcats, who average 389 total yards, have beaten Christian Brothers 28-10, Rodriguez of Fairfield 48-0 and Mira Loma 63-14 in last Friday's league opener.

Today, Gimenez will face the Sac–Joaquin Section's winningest coach, Max Miller, who recently took over at Rio Americano after Christian Mahaffey was ousted.

Although Gimenez coached 11 seasons at Woodland before Whitney, he believes it will be the first time he'll match up against Miller.

"I know his kids will be well coached, well prepared and fired up," Gimenez said. "We're going to have to be dialed in and ready to go."

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