Scroll to bottom of story to see Whitehorse Felt's Facts
Note: Whitehorse finished with a 1-8 overall record and an 0-3 record in the 1A South region in 2011. It did not qualify for the 1A playoffs.
It’s been eight years since Whitehorse’s football team beat an in-state foe. However, that bleak history didn’t stop Collin Jackson, a 1990 graduate of Whitehorse, from jumping at the chance to coach his alma mater.
Jackson has never coached football at the high school level, but he’s excited about the challenge in front of him — which is a monumental one.
An average of about only 15 players have been coming out to practices this summer, a number that might go up a bit once school gets started.
“It’s hard 'cause a lot of people live far out there in the desert,” said Jackson. “We have a lot of willing young men, but sometimes they just can’t get to the training.”
Despite the challenges with just three seniors and two juniors, Jackson said the kids love football and are excited about the challenges ahead.
“The team just wants to come out and play the best football they can, make them all good games and win a few of them. That’s what our goal is right now, but it’s a rebuilding year cause we’re new coaches and we have a lot of new players,” said Jackson.
Whitehorse’s best hopes of winning a game this year might be against the three out-of-state teams on its schedule. That includes Shonto Prep, Ariz., which the Raiders beat 60-0 last season.
With the majority of the team consisting of freshmen and sophomores, Jackson will need to rely heavily on the leadership and experience of seniors Edgar Haskins, Sheldon Jones and Tristan Mitchell.
Whitehorse Raiders at a glance
Coach: Collin Jackson is entering his first year as head coach at his alma mater.
(5 returning starters; I-formation and split-backs offense)
Whitehorse only averaged 15 ppg last year. Senior Tristan Mitchell and junior Sheldon Saltclaw are both returning starters on the offensive line, which should help junior quarterback Darrell Armstrong adjust to the new coaching staff. Sheldon Jones is a returning starter at fullback, while Edgar Haskins is a returning contributor at halfback.
(5 returning starters)
An influx of some talented underclassmen might help Whitehorse improve upon its scoring defense of 33 ppg last year. Sophomore Konani Mike is a talented linebacker, as is freshman Isaiah Martin, who will end up either playing defensive line or linebacker. Dylan Lansing is a very fast freshman who is anxious to play and will likely be a contributor in the secondary and on special teams.
Coaches preseason 1A South straw poll: Fifth
Deseret News 1A South prediction: Fifth
Bottom line: This team faces participation challenges unlike just about any other team in the state, and as a result its expectations are much different. Winning a couple games constitutes a successful season for Whitehorse. In last year’s regular-season finale, Monument Valley defeated Whitehorse 29-26 to clinch the final playoff spot from the 1A South region. They meet again in the regular season this year, and a playoff berth will inevitably be on the line again.
Aug. 17 — at Monticello, 7 p.m.
Aug. 24 — at Diamond Ranch, 7 p.m.
Aug. 31 — at Milford, 7 p.m.
Sept. 7 — at Newcomb, N.M., 7 p.m.
Sept. 14 — SUMMIT ACADEMY, 7 p.m.
Sept. 21 — SHONTO PREP, ARIZ., 7 p.m.
Sept. 28 — Bye
Oct. 5 — Bye
Oct. 12 — at Rock Point, Ariz., 7 p.m.
Oct. 19 — MONUMENT VALLEY, 7 p.m.
Felt’s Facts for Whitehorse High School
All-time record: 103-157-1 (30 years)
Region championships: 0
Playoff appearances: 13
All-time playoff record: 2-13
State championships: 0
State championship record: 0-0
Most played rivalry: 29 meetings with Monument Valley dating back to 1984. Whitehorse leads 17-12. Meet on Oct. 18.
Felt’s Factoid(s): Whitehorse won back-to-back titles in the Navajo Nations Football League (Small-School Division) in 1988 and ‘89.
Whitehorse coaching history
2012 — Collin Jackson
2008-2011 — Fernando Fonseca (7-26)
2004-2007 — Lance Knight (6-27)
1993-2003 — Marvin Johnson (40-38)
1992 — Eldon Randall (5-5)
1991 — Mark Courtney (1-8)
1988-1990 — Eldon Randall (21-12)
1985-1987 — Paul Nihipali (3-20)
1983-1984 — Hank Nawahine (16-5)
1980-1982 — Brian McAllister (4-8)
1979 — Unknown (0-8)
Deseret News First Team all-staters the past 10 years
Contributing: Jessica Wilde, Conner Johnson, Steve Mundee and prep football historian George Felt.