Heralds in for another long bus ride in their season opener

Well, at least the Whittier Christian High football team has a shorter road trip to open its season than last year. But not by much.
Just a year after a 325-mile trek to Mammoth High to begin their nonleague schedule, the Heralds need only drive 283 miles for this season’s Aug. 30 opener at Bishop High. Both Mammoth and Bishop lie well north and east of the Whittier area, high up I-395 in the Owens Valley. It took about seven hours by bus to reach Mammoth last season – the Heralds earned a 55-7 victory – and this year’s trip should take at least six.
The team will stay in Bishop after the game, and last year’s trip served as a team-building experience.
“It’s really a good bonding opportunity,” athletic director Rolland Esslinger said.
Bishop is the four-time defending High Desert League champion and returns much of the starting lineup from a team that went 9-3 in 2012. As for common opponents, the Broncos play in the same league as Mammoth and scored a similarly lopsided 56-6 victory last season.
The Heralds are led by All-CIF senior QB Ryan Esslinger and All-CIF junior receiver Noah Evans. Esslinger has received recruiting interest from Air Force and New Mexico, and Evans is a big, strong target at 6-foot-3, 215 pounds.
“He’s really hard to bring down,” said Whittier Christian coach Sergio Gradilla. “He has great hands and he runs good routes.”
The Heralds will also travel the next two weeks, but can practically skateboard to those games, at Cantwell-
Sacred Heart (Sept. 6) and at Whittier (Sept. 13). Whittier Christian will open its home schedule Sept. 20 against St. Margaret’s at Whittier College.

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