WHITING | It was a regular, ol' night for football at the "Little City on the Lake" on Friday night, as the trains were trucking by with their loud horns and the fans, as usual, were just as loud.
But the 48-7 Greater Southshore Conference victory over North Newton meant so much more for Times No. 8 Whiting, as one of the Oiler coaches lost a loved one this week.
Defensive coordinator Brett Jennings, along with his older brothers Brad and Griffith head baseball coach Brian Jennings, lost their mother, Diane, on Tuesday from a 17-month battle with lung cancer.
Brian, who is usually calling play-by-play on WJOB-AM's weekly high school football game, took a night away from his usual spot in the booth to be with family at the game.
But Brett was on the sidelines going through his normal routine of being animated, joking with his players and coaching them up when they made a mistake.
"To be honest, my mom would've been pissed if I missed this game," Brett Jennings said. "There was no doubt in my mind that I was gonna be here this week and for me, I had two families to be with."
It took all of 13 seconds for Whiting to get on the board after sophomore Martin Petruf took the opening kickoff 82 yards on an electric run.
The Oilers' defense also gave Brett and the rest of the coaches something to smile about after two sacks, two fumble recoveries, and two interceptions.
"We mentioned it a few times this week, and we played this one for coach and Matt (Wooden), who lost a loved one too," said senior middle linebacker Jesse Maynard, who had a sack and three tackles for loss. "It's been a rough year with all of the losses."
The offense was also clicking for Whiting (6-0, 4-0 GSSC), as it scored 20 points in the second quarter to blow the game wide open, including an 8-yard TD pass from AJ Veloz to Keegan Rooke and Ethan Young touchdown runs from 1 and 2 yards, respectively.
"The kids rose to the occasion and this may have been the easiest part for Brett this week (with coming to practice)," said Whiting coach Jeff Cain. "The running game looked good and when you're getting eight or nine yards a carry, we'll stick with that."
North Newton (1-5, 0-4) moved the ball well in the first half and had two chances to score after driving to the red zone on consecutive drives, but dropped passes halted the chances.
Young added a 19-yard touchdown run with 8:30 left in the third for the one of the three TD runs in the quarter for the Oilers, who claimed sole possession of first place in the GSSC.
The visiting Spartans added a touchdown late in the fourth on a Jono Bigger 6-yard run.