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Zephs shutout Easton, former coach

The Whitehall Zephyrs put in the work during Labor Day week practices in blazing temperatures and high humidity that paid off in a 27-0 shutout against the Easton Red Rovers on Sept. 8 at Whitehall.

“We raised the intensity level, the coaches made sure we were disciplined, and it was a hot week out, but we made sure we got right for this game, and I think this is the best game our defense played for sure,” said Whitehall defensive lineman Adam Youwakim. “We did great, and I’m proud of our team. We executed and did what had to be done. It was an emotional game, but I love our coaching staff, and I think we have a great thing going for us here. I felt how much of a family we were tonight.”

On one hand, former Whitehall coach Matt Senneca was on the opposite side of the field, now head coach of Easton, leading the Red Rovers. On the other hand, the Zephyrs were coming off a disastrous loss to Bethlehem Catholic.

“Getting our run game going was huge in the beginning,” said Whitehall quarterback Trey Dogmanits. “Dalton Wickel going for two carries for two touchdowns opened up the pass a lot, and we were very disciplined this week.”

Wickel’s first touchdown came after a botched Easton snap that put the Zephyrs on the Red Rovers’ 27-yard line, and Andrew Deutsch kicked the extra point. Three minutes later, Wickel, who rushed for 105 yards on the night, took the ball 48 yards for another touchdown, but a miscue on the extra point made the score 13-0.

Mounting penalties plagued Easton in the first half, and on a fourth-and-1 for the Red Rovers, Whitehall linebacker Carter Troxell made the stop.

“At halftime, we were told we have them right where we want them, but we can’t let them back in the game,” said Dogmanits, who threw for 189 yards. “It’s our game.”

Midway through the third quarter, Dogmanits kept the ball for a first down on Easton’s 38-yard line, but a penalty on the next play put the Zephyrs back on the 46.

Dogmanits’ toss to Kaden Weaver resulted in another first down on Easton’s 15. Then, on third-and-8, Dogmanits found Braden Bashore in the back corner of the end zone for the Zephyrs’ third touchdown.

“I have really good chemistry with [Braden], so when I saw him running back, I knew that he was gonna turn around and run with me and find the open spot,” Dogmanits said.

Easton quarterback Cole Ordway completed a pass to Collin Torres that put the Red Rovers on Whitehall’s 25-yard line. Three penalties later (between both teams) and Easton on the 20, Youwakim’s tackle resulted in a loss, and on fourth-and 13, Whitehall’s Daniel Bahnan brought down Ordway.

“This week, we had multiple stops in the red zone that set us up. When a team doesn’t put any points on the board, the pressure’s off on our offense, but we executed anyway,” said Dogmanits, who topped off the night with an 88-yard pass to brother, Talon, for the Zephyrs’ fourth touchdown with 2:14 left in the third quarter.

“I knew it was gonna work. We were running it all practice,” said Talon Dogmanits. “At first, I thought it was gonna get overthrown, so I started sprinting real hard, and then it was just a perfect ball right there. I didn’t know if there was someone right behind me or anything, so I just kept sprinting as hard as I could. When I got to the sideline, everyone was saying I had 20 yards on him. Everything was going good for us in the first half, so we just had to keep it rolling.”

On defense, Whitehall’s Troxell had nine tackles, and Brandon Bird had eight tackles for the Zephyrs.

Said Trey Dogmanits, “It felt great. You know, that last drive, when you hop in with four minutes left, and you’re able to just pound the ball and go into victory and take a knee, there’s nothing better. It was a really special win.”