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Jaguars Sports

JFP History under Coach Dan Whitsett

 

Coach Whitsett just finished his 6th season as the head man in the Tri-Cities Prep Football Program. He came to Prep in 2004 and turned around a program that had won just 7 games in three seasons. In his first season he led the Jags to a then school record 5 wins and their first winning record in the programs young history (5-4). The highlight was knocking Prescott out of the playoffs in the last game of the year. That same season sophomore running back Joe Campbell became TCP's first ever player named to the Southeast All-League Team.

Things started to take off from there and the Jaguars went 8-2 in 2005 and finished tied for second in the SE League. They were forced into a three-way mini playoff birth series with Colton and St. John-Endicott (only 2 playoff spots available that year). A last second 14-8 loss to SJE ended their season and a chance for a state tournament playoff birth.

In 2006 the Jaguars won eight of their last six games of the regular season to head into the playoffs at 7-3 overall. They once again finished second in the SE League and earned the right to play in the regional playoffs against the Columbia-Hunters from the Northeast League. After defeating C-H 46-12 the Jags qualified for their first ever 8 team State Tournament. An unfortunate injury to All-American running back Joe Campbell in the C-H game prevented him from playing the next week against Touchet, and TCP's season ended at the hands of the Indians in the quarterfinals.  The Jags finished the 2006 campaign at 8-4.

The Jags graduated seven seniors that started on one side of the ball or the other and were major contributors in 2006. Rather than rebuilding in 2007, the Jags reloaded and went a surprising 7-3 in the regular season and finished 3rd overall in the SE League.  The Jags qualified for their second consecutive regional playoff birth and a match-up against #3 seed Cusick from the Northeast League. A victory on the road at Cusick qualified the Jags for the 8 team State Tournament and a date in Silverdale to play the Pacific Coast League's #2 seed Clallam Bay Bruins. A hard fought victory against the Bruins sent the Jags to the semi-finals to play the number one ranked and undefeated Odessa Tigers at Joe Albi Stadium in Spokane.

The semi-final game was broadcast for the first time on radio by KONA and Michael McDonnal. It would be an amazing game of will by the Jaguars who were undersized, undermanned, and huge underdogs against the Tigers. The Jags would take an impressive 30-18 lead going into halftime and held on to a 44-42 lead at the start of the 4th quarter. The State's biggest upset of the year did not materialize however as Odessa was able to pull of the victory in the end. KONA radio's Michael McDonnal would say on the air that the game was one of the most exciting he had called in a long time. A Bsports.org 1B Football editor would call the game "an instant classic."   The Jags would finish the 2007 season with a 9-4 overall record.

2008 was another solid season for the Jags. They went 4-1 in the SE League and 8-1 overall in the regular season. The Jags finished 2nd in the Southeast League for the first time ever. They earned the #2 seed for the SE in the NE/SE Regional Crossover playoff game and that matched them up against the defending State Champion Almira/Coulee-Hartline Warriors. After dispatching the Warriors 66-20, the Jags traveled to Newport to take on #1 ranked and undefeated Cusick. A slow start by Prep allowed Cusick to hold on and win the game 48-28, despite the Jags outscoring them 28-14 in the second half. TCP's season ended a little prematurely with a respectable 9-2 overall record.

In 2009 the Jags loaded up the non-league schedule with Oregon powers Imbler (defending Oregon state champs and 09 favorites) and Cove.  They also scheduled top 5 Washington opponent Lummi once again.  It was the toughest schedule in the history of the program to date.  The Imbler game was the season opener for both teams and neither disappointed on Chiawana High Schools new field turf in Pasco.  The Jags held a 36-26 lead going into the fourth quarter against the much bigger Panther team from Oregon.  Imbler scored the final 14 points to take a 40-36 lead with under 3 minutes remaining.  Will Hoppes would lead the Jaguars to the Imbler 5 yard line with 16 seconds remaining, but a pass into the endzone was not to be and the Panthers escaped with the victory.  After an 82-32 win over Lummi the Prep squad was hit was a key injury to Hoppes and the flu bug.  After having to cancel a scheduled 11-man game against Waitsburg-Prescott with too many players down with the flu, a semi healthy squad without injured quarterback Will Hoppes would take on Cove, Oregon.  It turned into a 66-52 loss for the Jaguars and now they were under .500 for the first time since week four of the 2006 season. 

The boys in navy would turn it all around though and go undefeated in Southeast League play to earn not only the league championship but the number one SE seed for the playoffs.  The regional playoff crossover would bring Northeast League member Wilbur-Creston to Edgar Brown Stadium.  The Jags would win 50-0 and advance to their fourth consecutive state tournament (final 8).  The quarterfinals would bring a familiar foe to Edgar Brown in Almira/Coulee-Hartline who was 10-1 on the season and the NE League #2 seed.  TCP won the game 52-22 and advanced to the state semi-final game for the second time in three years.  The semi-final game would be a rematch of the 2008 quarterfinal game with the Cusick Panthers.  Cusick was undefeated at 12-0, and had been ranked number one the entire season.  The boys in navy handed Cusick a 42-26 and earned the schools first ever trip to the Tacoma Dome to play for the State Championship to play Lummi (9-3).

Coming into the game the Jaguars had won 9 straight games and Lummi avenged two earlier losses to Neah Bay to defeat them in the semi-finals and earn the trip to the Dome.  Leading just 16-14 after the first quarter, TCP extended their lead to 38-20 at the half.  In the second half the Jags would open the game up and eventually win the State Title by a score of 80-40.  The Jags set 14 championship game records and Will Hoppes would finish his fine career with several national and state records to his name.  Junior receiver Troy Redmann also set 4 individual championship game records and put his name on the state season and career record books as well.  Both Troy Redmann and Antonio Ledesma broke the championship game record of receptions as they each hauled in 10 passes, the old record was 9.  Redmann also caught six touchdown passes, another championship game record in all classifications.  The Jags finished the season 11-2 overall and undefeated against opponents in Washington.

In 2005 coach Whitsett was hired to lead the expansion Tri-Cities Fever Indoor Professional Football Team. He coached them to a 13-5 record overall and led them to the National Indoor Football League Championship after impressive victories on the road over the Wyoming Calvalry, Everett (WA) Hawks, and the Odessa (TX) Roughriders. They won the National Championship in front of their sold out home crowd of 6,300 at the Tri-Cities Coliseum (now Toyota Center) by defeating the Rome Renegades from Georgia. Whitsett was the NIFL's runner-up "Coach of the Year" in 2005 and named the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce "Area Coach of the Year" as well. 

In 2006 Whitsett once again led the Fever to the post season with a 9-5 regular season record. He was 22-9 (71% winning percentage) overall with the Fever in two seasons.  He led the Fever to the only victory over the 2006 NIFL champions Billings Outlaws (18-1) that season.  In 2006 he resigned from his duties as the Fever head coach to focus his attention on his family and the Jaguar Football Program. 
After winning a state high school championship (2009), coach Whitsett became the first coach in Washington State history to have won both a professional national championship and a high school state title in a career.

Coach Whitsett has never had a losing season as a head coach. He has a 72-27 (73% winning percentage) overall record (50-18, 74% winning percentage at TCP) as a head football coach. His teams at Prep have won 9 or more games three times and have won 8 or more games in all but his first season. In six seasons at TCP Whitsett has coached 2 National Players of the Year, 3 All-Americans, 6 All-Region selections, 2 State Players of the Year, and 10 All-State selections.   He has been named the Washington State 1B "Coach of the Year" three times, and the District 9 "Coach of the Year" twice.  He was also named the National Private School Athletic Association Regional Coach of the Year in 2009.  

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