Local Sports Journal

HART – Whitehall Viking fans haven’t had a whole lot to cheer about this football season.

That all changed Friday night.

Whitehall junior running back Tripp Fillman had the game of his life, accumulating 326 rushing yards on just 13 carries and six scores as the Vikings ran away with the 47-18 victory over West Michigan Conference foe Hart.

“(Fillman) definitely was the difference in the game,” said Hart head coach Steve Hlady.

Whitehall now sits at 1-5 (1-4) while Hart is still looking for its first win of the season.

“I’m really happy for our kids, the way they’ve bought in and put in the investment in our long-term success,” said first-year Whitehall head coach Tony Sigmon. “We’ve noticed a real improvement in the way our team has played (since Week 4). It’s good to see it start to show in the win column.”

While it might appear that Whitehall had an easy night, the contest was close until the middle of the fourth quarter, when Fillman ripped off a 54-yard TD run to make it 34-18.

“That really was the difference,” said Sigmon. “That score really broke the game open.”

Hart scored first early in the opening quarter, when Brandon Amstutz capped a drive with a one-yard TD run. Teammate Juan Ortiz-Carrera bagged the PAT kick to make it 7-0 Hart.

Minutes later, however, Fillman tied things up with a six-yard TD run to make it 7-7. Teammate Keenan Aylor made it 14-7 with a 66-yard TD run, with Hart’s Ortiz-Carrera making it 14-10 with a 32-yard field goal at the end of the second.

Fillman had scores of 59 and 94 yards in the third to make it 26-10, while Hart’s Amstutz hauled in an 80-yard TD pass from Pirate QB Joe Fillips to make it, following an Amstutz two-point conversion run, 26-18.

Fillman scored thrice in the fourth, on the aforementioned 54-yarder, and on runs of 52 and 41 yards, to put the game away. Hart fumbled twice in the final stanza to help the Viking effort.

For Hlady, the Pirates are starting to realize s goal he’s had for them from the start.

“Our goal is to always compete in the fourth quarter and today we did that,” he said. “We were down 16 entering the fourth. (Hart) kept fighting and working hard and I appreciate that.”

Along with Fillman’s outstanding night, Aylor had two rushes for 86 yards and a score, while brother Zerren Aylor finished with 71 yards on 11 carries.

Amstutz led Hart with 108 yards on 20 and one catch for 84 yards. Teammate Brett Bonstell added 70 yards on 18 carries.

Defensively, Gunner Lamb led Whitehall with 10.5 tackles, with Keenan Aylor adding eight stops in the win.

Carl Morgan led Hart with six tackles and teammate Norberto Ramirez finished with four tackles and a sack.