The Whitney football team was winless in 2018 but they’re undefeated through two games in 2019 following a big victory over the Placer Hillmen on Friday night.
The Wildcats offense led the way as Whitney won a 47-34 shootout Friday over Placer.
The Wildcats (2-0) and Hillmen (1-1) each came into Friday’s matchup with a win. The Wildcats beat Paraclete in a 38-10 route at home. Placer traveled to Eureka and came home with a 40-27 victory.
Whitney came out strong Friday, jumping out to a 21-6 lead in the first half. The Hillmen attempted to rally back but could not match the Wildcats offense led by junior quarterback Eli Brickhandler.
Placer High has been in existence since 1893 and has established itself as a power among the football teams in the foothills. Whitney opened in 2003 and had yet to establish itself as a true contender — at least until Friday night.
The Wildcats came into Friday’s game as underdogs despite being at home with a loud and rowdy student section. The two teams matched up last season at Placer with the Hillmen coming away with the 42-28 victory.
Whitney head coach Zac McNally has a credo that he emphasizes to his team which is effort, physicality and toughness. McNally described his team’s performance Friday night as “gritty.”
“It wasn’t pretty, we made plays when we had to (and) our offense carried us tonight,” McNally said. “We knew that Placer’s physical offensive attack was going to be difficult but we knew we had to get a couple stops and at least one turnover. We had to get the ball back for our offense. I’m very proud of how we competed, took care of the football and continued to chop down the tree.”
Brickhandler carried the Wildcats on offense as he had four passing touchdowns and a 64-yard rushing touchdown. Brickhandler is a dual-threat at the position.
The junior quarterback said Whitney’s student section helped carry the load as they were loud and proud throughout the game.
“The student section was amazing,” Brickhandler said. “The first game we didn’t have too many people. I feel like the community and our students are starting to come around us and just supporting this year.”
McNally gave more credit to Brickhandler.
“He’s an absolute stud,” McNally said. “He’s the next big thing for quarterbacks in the state of California. I couldn’t be more proud of him and the best is yet to come. I’m just glad that we have him for this year and next year, he’s a special young man.”
The Hillmen will attempt to rebound from the loss in their home opener next Friday against Cardinal Newman.
The Wildcats have another challenge in their first road game as the team travels to Fresno to play at Central, looking to keep their undefeated record alive.