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Wildcats hang on for homecoming victory

By: Cecil Conley, Sports Editor
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Mike Gimenez did not want to rain on Whitney High School’s homecoming parade. Even Mother Nature spared the Wildcats by turning off her sprinklers as the floats passed in front of the bleachers. Gimenez’s mood was dampened, however, by the Wildcats’ uninspired performance. The Wildcats held off El Camino for a 27-20 victory Friday night to improve to 3-0 in the Capital Athletic League. As he spoke to his players after the game, Gimenez hardly sounded like the coach of a team on a roll. A week’s worth of homecoming festivities might have distracted his team in its preparation. That lack of focus nearly cost the Wildcats, who led 21-6 at halftime and did just enough in the second half to survive. Such an effort will not get it done in the final two weeks of the regular season. “We’ve been playing pretty well, so they start to think they’ve got it figured out,” Gimenez said. “This was humbling, and I hope they got a good taste of that. The games are going to keep getting harder. Whitney built its halftime lead on two touchdown runs by quarterback Jake Rodrigues and his 40-yard scoring pass to Jimmy Feyster. Rodrigues added his third touchdown run on a 1-yard plunge with 1:04 left in the third quarter to make it 27-13. El Camino scored with 4:30 to play to leave Whitney ahead by just a touchdown. The Eagles had a shot at a comeback with 3:06 left and marched from their 6-yard line to the Wildcats’ 48 before running into a fourth-and-10 play. El Camino quarterback James Appel completed a pass to Demetrius Kuwabara, but Whitney’s Trevor Sitch stopped Kuwabara short of a first down. The Wildcats ran out the clock on the next play. Whitney’s junior varsity suffered a 21-7 loss.