Whiteman breaks out against Haven
Chris Whiteman was good against Schuylkill Haven.
The Indians’ senior signal-caller made plays with his arm and his legs against the Hurricanes, racking up a school-record 380 yards passing and three touchdowns last Friday to earn Times News Player of the Week honors.
But Whiteman wants to be better.
And he’ll trade any record, or eye-popping stat, for one thing.
Whiteman’s performance came in a 35-34 loss to Schuylkill Haven, something that left him thinking about what might have been.
“Throughout the whole game, I felt our offense was doing very well,” said Whiteman. “You go into that feeling good watching film and all that stuff. But you also see all the plays that you left out on the field. There’s a ton of plays we left out there, and that could be what causes a win or a loss. And maybe if we hit just one more play, we would have won that game.
“It’s unfortunate, but we just have to keep our heads high.”
Whiteman hit on several big pass plays, connecting with Zack Hunsicker for 68-yard and 15-yard scoring strikes. He ran for an 11-yard score and added a 67-yard touchdown pass to Shane Williams in the fourth quarter as the Indians’ (1-1) rallied late.
“One thing we said about Chris is that he’s been a great leader for us,” said Lehighton head coach Tom McCarroll. “We knew he had a lot of potential in order to put up numbers that our offense puts up. For him to have a big game, statictically, in a big-game atmosphere, was pretty exciting.
“Unfortunately, we came up on the shorter side of things, and … a lot of what he was focused on was that. I congratulated him on Saturday, but his first thing was, ‘Well, it doesn’t really matter because we didn’t win.’ That’s the kind of attitude he has, that’s the kind of kid he is, that’s the kind of leader he is. Statistics always come second for him. But to have a big game like that, I’m proud of Chris. He’s put the time in, put the effort in, and he deserved it.”
In his second game as a starter, Whiteman showed tremendous growth. After completing 10-of-21 passes for 166 yards in a 20-13 season-opening win over Fleetwood, he surpassed the mark of 315 yards set by Cody Scherer in 2016.
“Just a lot of growth, and that’s a compliment to his character and his leadership,” said McCarroll. “Because Week 1, as a coach, and especially a guy who coaches the quarterbacks, I was pretty critical. He missed a couple throws, missed a couple reads. But he had a great attitude going in, saying I’ll get it the next week coach, and he did. The same things he missed Week 1, he didn’t miss Week 2.
“And then, not only did he get better from Week 1 to Week 2, but he got better from the first half last week to the second half, and that’s really where he kind of put up some bigger numbers for us, and we needed that. Just to see continual growth from him, and I think we’re gonna see it the rest of the year. I don’t think he’s gonna be the kind of kid that’s gonna settle, and be satisfied with putting up numbers. I think putting the wins on the board is really what’s gonna matter to him.”
Whiteman, who leads the area with 546 yards passing, will have a chance to get another one Friday night at Central Columbia.
“Coach was saying the best teams always come back from adversity. And right there, that’s adversity,” Whiteman said of the loss to Schuylkill Haven. “A loss, a close game like that, losing by one point; that’s adversity, and we know we just gotta keep our heads high.
“Coming into this week, we’ve been practicing hard … and just get the job done on Friday. We just gotta do our job, and get the win. Everybody’s more motivated. We don’t want to lose, we just want to get this win. It motivates everybody, on both sides of the ball. Everybody’s more motivated. We don’t want to lose; we just want this win. We know how close we were in that game (against Schuylkill Haven), but we just have to be a little better.”