Since the month of January, Whiting Football has been in the weight room pushing their limits.
Setting new maxes every few weeks, the team was just biding until the sun came out and they could hit the turf. Again, under the direction of Coach Cain, the team has reintroduced new line and special formations and put major work into their plays lineup. Rain or shine, the young men could be found at either Ray P. Gallivan field working on the game, or in the Victor Sahagun championship room getting stronger with eyes dead-set on being conference champions and pushing through Sectionals to Regionals and beyond.
When the season’s work goes from January to November, concerns about the sport going nearly year-round can arise, but Coach Davenport explained how it’s beneficial. As a parent of a player himself, he says that he feels his son is safer with the way the program is run. He explains while some schools begin at the start of summer and some even only as the school year begins, Whiting’s early start gives time for players to ease into the game, which could easily be jarring for younger players, otherwise. It gives time to strengthen, condition, teach, and execute proper playing habits all before the season officially starts.
Simply put, early starts mean more time to strengthen and develop smarter players, which means safer playing. In addition, it helps incoming freshman build bonds with returning players, strengthening the bonds and brotherhood, helping the team work together and run more efficiently, come time for the first game.
However, the team competed against other teams much earlier than that. By the end of July, Whiting has already participated in three scrimmages, each featuring multiple teams. Hosted at Chesterton, Whiting faced Lafayette Harrison, Highland, and Andrean high school. In East Chicago, Whiting faced Bowman Academy, Rensselaer, La Porte, and again Andrean high school. Finally, at Munster, Whiting faced Valpo, Gavit, and Griffith. Gavit has been the regular week 2 opponent for Whiting for many years, but from this year onward, Griffith is moving into that spot. Griffith is joining The Greater South Shore Conference for other sports, but there has been no word on if Griffith will join the football conference, despite taking the spot on the schedule. Coach Cain says Griffith provided some of the best competition out of the scrimmages, so there’s much excitement for the second week this season.
Going into this season, Whiting was looking for a new Varsity offensive coordinator; however, they didn’t have to look far. The answer was there before the question could be asked. That answer is Chris Davenport. As weight-lifting instructor, 2015-2016 assistant coach, and father of a star junior player, Coach Davenport was more than happy to be able to give even more to the program. Davenport played a big role in introducing and refining the very offensive formations and plays that led the Oilers to the State Championship at Lucas Oil Stadium just two seasons ago. Having helped in coaching the team for a few years, some players even back to Pop Warner football before their middle school years, there is a strong connection between this coach and his players. Their experience is bound to wreak havoc against the competition this season. Having such experience together is nothing other teams should dare to take lightly.
Every year, Whiting has a special motto, usually containing an acronym. These have included “Where there’s a W.I.L.L.” (Winning, Intensity, Love, Loyalty) in 2014, and this year's “Be the G.O.A.T.” “G.O.A.T.” as of now simply means “Greatest of All Time". Coach Cain has dropped hints that there is another meaning, revealed not even to the team yet. The inspiration behind the G.O.A.T, is a certain record about to be broken. As Cain put it, this Senior class is potentially the most readily available to win.
After a start in an undefeated season going into the second round, followed up by Whiting’s greatest run going all the way to state, this year’s seniors were set ahead of the game in most wins in the team’s history. The team is guaranteed 10 games in the season, and they need nine wins to tie with last year’s seniors and ten to win the prestige of the record. Last year’s senior players ended their season with 44 wins, and this upcoming year begins with 35 wins. Next year has a shot to break even that record, with the benefit of being on Whiting’s state team their freshman year, but after that, the following classes would have to win 13 games to match that record, and there are only 15 games maximum in a season. Anything can happen, but Cain says there is no worry. He is certain we will be seeing the “Greatest of All Time” storming the fields of the Region, starting August 19th in the Battle of 119th Street against lifetime rivals, George Rogers Clark High School.