Whitney Young Coach Tim Franken told the team that the homecoming game was for them.
“Our mindset was to take care of business,” Franken said. “I told the team all week that the homecoming festivities were for the other students, but their job was to win the game.”
From the start of the game, the Dolphins showed their focus and drive as Whitney Young junior running back Noah Hanna scored the first touchdown. Captain and senior wide receiver Adam Durudogan kicked the field goal, making the score 7-0.
The Dolphins took a comfortable 41-0 lead at halftime.
Franken said he always tells his players to never lose focus no matter what the box score says or what team they’re playing.
“It’s hard keeping your team motivated, but the coaching staff and I try to keep the players grounded,” Franken said. “We tell them you have to keep the game in perspective, and understand who you’re playing at all times.”
Franken said although they have a young team, they’re a very athletic team that works on getting better all the time.
“We have a lot of areas we can improve in,” Franken said. “We have a lot of problems with our frontline that we need to work on, in regards to physicality, execution and timing of our plays. Defensively, we’re working on our gap responsibility as well as our tackling because right now we’re not a great tackling team.”
According to Franken, Hanna sprained his ankle during the game, but he said it is nothing too severe.
“You always hate to see injuries, but we hope it isn’t anything too serious,” Franken said.
Hanna showed signs of pain but stayed focus on the accomplishment of the team’s win.
“I’m in a lot of pain but I will be okay,” Hanna said. “I’m very proud of the team, and I’m glad that we pull out a win for our senior’s last homecoming game.”
Despite limping into the locker room, Hanna said his mind was saying, “My ankle hurts” but his heart was saying, “I love football.”
“I just have to play through it,” Hanna said. “I love football. And unless I can’t physically play, then I’m going to push through it.”
Even though some Dolphins celebrated off the field, some voiced how the Vikings impacted not only the game but their homecoming experience.
“If we would’ve played a better team, we would have had a better homecoming game experience,” said Whitney Young sophomore running back Kendred Belk.
Belk said that the team respects every opponent they face but looks forward to the playoffs and the state championship.
The Whitney Young Dolphins will look to continue their seven-game winning streak when they play against the (2-5) Mather Rangers Friday at Lane Stadium.