10/24/13 — Whack, Garner provide thunder, lightning for Princeton

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Whack, Garner provide thunder, lightning for Princeton

By Andrew Stevens
Published in Sports on October 24, 2013 11:00 AM

Perfect storms typically don't happen in an instant, they generally develop slowly as the necessary elements fall into place.

When Princeton linebackers Cody Garner and Adrian Whack met as a 10-year-old and nine-year-old, respectively, on the same youth football team, little did they know they would grow up to become the Bulldogs' version of "thunder and lightning."

That's the nickname given to them by Princeton assistant coach James Jenkins.

The cornerstones of the Bulldogs' defense, Whack has a thunderous ability to make game-changing plays in an instant. The defensive captain and signal caller, Garner is lightning quick and can strike when an opponent least expects it.

"We have one that guy (Whack) that everybody plans to run away from and his buddy that cleans up the mess when everybody gets to him," Bulldogs' head coach Derrick Minor said. "It's nice to have those guys on the field, and to have one that can change the game at any point and the other who compliments him."

A junior, Garner and has recorded double digits in tackles in each of the Bulldogs' last five games and has 58 tackles overall. He has seven stops behind the line of scrimmage and one interception.

Whack, a sophomore, has 77 tackles, including 15 for loss yardage. He's posted two quarterback sacks, picked off two passes and blocked a punt.

"The chemistry that we have together helps out a lot," Whack said. "We know each other's mindset when we're in the game and how the other guy is thinking. My nose for the ball and Cody's nose for the ball are different. He reads the play faster than me, but once I see what's going on I react faster than Cody.

"One us of is normally there to make the tackle."

Garner and Whack gained significant big-game experience during the Bulldogs' run to the N.C. High School Athletic Association 1-A (small-school) eastern finals last season. Garner tallied 31 tackles and an interception in four playoff games while Whack collected 28 stops and two interceptions.

"During those playoff games we realized that we were better than we thought we were," Garner said. "Last year as a sophomore I kind of had to start leading more. Some of our older guys talked to me about not getting ahead of myself or getting frustrated at times.

"They always told me not to be scared and that I could hang with anybody no matter how old or how young I was."