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Loss leaves Whitney to settle for second

By: Cecil Conley, Sports Editor
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Whitney High School’s defense dodged the first bullet Friday night, finally stopping Antelope after the Titans marched 88 yards in 15 yards and drained nearly 10 minutes off the clock. Withstanding a second shot was asking too much. A weary Wildcats defense could not prevent the Titans from scoring with 3:30 to play, and the touchdown sealed Antelope’s 28-19 victory. It also gave Antelope the first football championship in the Capital Athletic League’s first season. Whitney settled for second after falling short in the battle of unbeaten CAL teams in Rocklin. The Wildcats (6-4 overall) will learn their playoff fate Saturday night when the Sac-Joaquin Section brackets are announced. Friday night’s loss could leave Whitney with a road game in the first round. The showdown boiled down to Whitney’s defense because the Wildcats were sputtering on offense. Whitney scored two touchdowns in the first quarter and got its third with 6:06 remaining in the first half when Jake Rodriguez fired a 12-yard scoring pass to tight end Jalen Cope-Fitzpatrick. The only problem was Corey Palin missed the PAT after the second touchdown. Whitney went for a two-point conversion after its third touchdown, but Rodrigues was stopped well short of the end zone. Those two squandered opportunities came back to haunt the Wildcats, especially after Xavier Winrow scored on the first play after Cope-Fitzpatrick’s touchdown reception by busting loose for a 76-yard run. “That outcome could have been different,” Whitney head coach Mike Gimenez told his team after the game. “It wasn’t one play. It was a lot of little things, and they add up.” Antelope took the lead on its first possession of the second half when quarterback John Winters capped a 61-yard drive with a 3-yard scoring run. The drive was aided by a pass interference penalty against the Wildcats that Gimenez argued. Whitney’s junior varsity team lost 34-14.