Special to The Ely Times

The White Pine High football team begins Aug. 24 as the Bobcats host Milford, Utah, High.

Coach Nick Lopez begins his second year. The Bobcats were 4-6 last season. The team struggled at first, losing four of their first five games. The lone win in that stretch was a 2-0 forfeit by Mountain View.

However, the second half of the season was a little better as they won three straight games before losing the last two that kept them out of  the playoffs.

This year, the Bobcats have their first four games in Ely, the first time they have done that since 2009.

Milford had a strong season last year, going 11-1, and winning the Utah Class 1A state championship. But the Tigers were a heavily senior-laden team and graduated 16 players, almost half the team.

The second game of the season for the Bobcats will be with long-time rival Lincoln County in Ely Aug. 31.

Lopez said the team has a scrimmage planned with Lincoln County and West Wendover Aug. 17.

He noted the team will be young with only about seven returning lettermen. “But, I would say every kid whose is returning for us is an asset and we have several sophomores who will be on the team. I think we should have a decent running game with three likely those mobil quarterbacks, Phoenix Ball, Devin Starkey and Justin Brinkerhoff.”

Offensively, White Pine plans to use the Power Wing T and go with a 4-4-3 defense.

Lopez expects the 2A North will be tough again with Battle Mountain and Pershing County up a the top.

The Mustangs have been unbeaten in league play the last two years in addition to being the two-time defending 2A state champion. The Northern 2A has won the last five NIAA state titles.