Whale Branch Early College High School football coach Jerry Hatcher began talking about Estill's speed shortly after closing his victory speech the previous week. The Gators' tandem of Jarvis Singleton and DeAngelo Bryant had obviously grabbed his attention long before game week.
Bryant struck quickly to back up the hype, and Estill forced enough mistakes to ease away from Warriors Field with a 40-0 victory Friday night.
Bryant's 90-yard opening kickoff return for a touchdown set a dark tone for the Warriors on Senior Night.
"I saw a hole, so I just hit it," Bryant said. "I saw nothing but daylight."
The Gators added a score on a safety and forced four turnovers.
Whale Branch (1-5, 1-1 Region 5-A) started the week confident after a 65-0 victory over Denmark-Olar to open region play the previous week. But some of the same issues that plagued the Warriors the first four weeks reappeared.
And the primary struggle again was finding a way to get in the end zone.
"We've got to score," Hatcher said. "We're inconsistent on offense."
The Warriors were shut out for the third time. They have averaged 6.4 points per game in five losses.
The Warriors lost a fumble driving at the Estill 30 during the first quarter and tossed an interception on the eighth play of a second-quarter drive. Estill used the short field to score its only offensive touchdown of the first half.
Singleton and Bryant were contained from scrimmage much of the night.
The Warriors schemed to overload the outside and keep the speedy backs within the hash marks. The bigger Whale Branch defensive line pushed into the Gators' backfield.
Hatcher wanted to avoid the big play and force Estill to eat clock on its scoring drives. Singleton averaged 13.9 yards per carry entering the game. Whale Branch held him to 4.8 per touch.
But it wasn't enough to offset the miscues.
Singleton said the Gators did not watch much film on the Warriors and expected a close game after the teams split at Estill in 2012. The difference this year, Bryant said, was that the Warriors lacked a go-to receiver like the one they had in Dee Delaney.
"We just came to play ball," Singleton said.
Hatcher still feels the group can improve offensively and on special teams, and compete in the region. The Warriors will search for what works during the upcoming off week.
"You can't play defense all night," Hatcher said. "And we know that and are trying to get better.
"It seems like it's a brick wall -- every time you try to do something it's one step forward, two back."
Estill 40, Whale Branch 0
Estill 6 10 0 24 -- 40
Whale Branch 0 0 0 0 -- 0
E -- DeAngelo Bryant 90 kickoff return (pass failed) 11:41
E -- Safety 11:41
E -- Jarvis Singleton 2 run (Bryant run) 2:59
E -- Issac Williams 18 pass from Bryant (Bryant pass) 11:49
E -- Singleton 6 run (Bryant run) 9:17
E -- Preston Bradley-Loving fumble recovery (Bryant pass) 4:03
First Downs 10 11
Rushes-Yards 34-167 37-116
Comp-Att-Int 2-5-2 5-15-2
Passing Yards 19 73
Punts-Avg 2-39 2-29.5
Fumbles-Lost 1-1 3-2
Penalties-Yards 7-65 2-16
Third-Down Conv 2-8 2-11
Fourth-Down Conv 0-1 2-4
PASSING: Estill -- DeAngelo Bryant 2-3-22, Legend Brown 0-1-1, Timothy Orr 0-1-1; Whale Branch -- Devonta Glover 4-9-57-2, Amagee Stephens 1-6-16.
RUSHING: Estill -- Jarvis Singleton 20-95, Brown 8-38, Bryant 5-31, Quinton Alston 1-3; Whale Branch -- Michael Dantzler 17-73, Javon Gardner 11-23, Glover 4-3, Malik Brown 3-15, Stephon Eugene 2-2.
RECEIVING: Estill -- Brown 1-4, Issac Williams 1-18; Whale Branch -- Jamar Scott 1-43, Braylon Harrison 2-12, Treyvon Bryan 1-16, Chavonne Simmons 1-3, David Lamb 1- (-1).