Loomis, CA The Whitney Wildcats put up a valiant effort against the #1 seed Del Oro Golden Eagles in the second round of the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs. The Wildcats played tough till the final whistle but fell short to the Eagles 35-11 on Friday night.
For the third time in the last four years the Whitney Wildcats were eliminated in the second round by the Golden Eagles, finishing the season 8-4 overall and 5-0 in league play.
Reflecting on the season, Wildcat coach Mike Gimenez lauded his team’s performance. “Its time people say that’s a really good football team. Play their tails off, give a great effort, tackle well, do everything well. That’s our expectation. We were 1-3 and keeping it together like our seniors did and battled. Win our league title, all of that stuff is a direct reflection on our senior leadership.”
Senior quarterback Drew Romo, who was all over the field, completed 15 of 41 passes for 171 yards and a touchdown to lead Whitney. Romo also rushed for 114 yards on 13 carries.
The Golden Eagles started the game strong with senior back Dylan Kainrath breaking off a 49-yard and a 1-yard touchdown run that put Del Oro up 14-0. The Eagles defense came out hustling too, keeping Whitney from moving into scoring position until late in the second quarter.
The Wildcats got on the board with 1:32 left in the first half. Senior Jordan Traynor kicked a school record 47-yard field goal to cut the lead to 14-3.
On the ensuing drive the Wildcats defense forced a three and out of the Eagles and then blocked the Eagles punt, recovering it at Del Oro’s one-yard line. Quarterback Drew Romo then found Traynor for a one-yard touchdown pass.
The Wildcats could have settled but on the point after try, a direct snap to Traynor led to a two-point conversion that brought the score to 14-11 at the end of the first half. Jordan Traynor was responsible for all 11 of Whitney’s points with a field goal, receiving touchdown and a two-point conversion.
“The executions on special teams were great, I thought they all played great.” Gimenez stated of the Wildcats furious rally at the end of the first half.
The second half started with a bang for the Whitney defense who intercepted the first Del Oro pass of the second half. It was Whitney’s second interception of the game as seniors Josh Gallofin and Oleg Kubay both came away with picks. “Defensively we were on the field a ton and battled our tails off.” Gimenez stated.
The Eagles recovered a big fumble towards the end of the third quarter and drove for three more touchdowns on the arm of senior quarterback Michael Moore who finished 13/28 with 207 yards and three touchdowns. Running back Dylan Kainrath added 132 rush yards and a pair of touchdowns for the Eagles, while senior Jonathon Tuttle compiled 106 receiving yards, two touchdowns and a big interception on defense.
Whitney came into this game on the heels of a 34-9 win over Cosumnes Oaks High School in the first round of the playoffs.
Senior Kwane Wilkinson added to the Whitney ground game with 44 yards on 11 carries. The Wildcats compiled 177 yards on the ground to go with 182 yards in the air. Senior Justin Herrmann led the way with 5 receptions for 81 yards.
“Our kids expect to win playoff games and expect to win section championships. We expected to practice next week and we expected to win tonight.”
Whitney sees 25 seniors depart after the season ends including quarterback Drew Romo, kicker and back Jordan Traynor, running back Kwane Wilkinson, receiver Justin Herrmann as well as several defensive stars.
“That’s what you want your senior class to do. Show the younger kids what heart, effort, dedication and all those things you want in your kids. They gave that to us and it was awesome. They’ve given everything to this program and more.”
Drew Romo finished the season with 1,874 pass yards and 20 touchdowns, while Jordan Traynor finished with 5 rushing touchdowns on the year. Wide out Kris Corpus compiled 7 touchdowns to go along with 447 receiving yards on the year.
Defensive star Josh Gallofin intercepted his 5th pass on the season against Del Oro, while Kyle McCray recorded 77 solo tackles on the season and 5.5 sacks for the year.
The Golden Eagles of Del Oro host Yuba City High School next Friday in the semifinal round of the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs at 7pm at Eagle Stadium in Loomis.