Robert Perea, The Fernley Reporter
Just when Fernley seemed primed to put away its first win of the season, a sudden turnaround turned it into the Vaqueros’ first defeat.
Sacred Heart Cathedral scored on two consecutive plays from scrimmage to turn around a game that Fernley had controlled to that point, and ultimately defeated the Vaqueros 35-26.
With Fernley leading 26-14, quarterback Will Irons threw a 31-yard touchdown to Ronan Orford with 1:01 left in the third quarter, on the first play after Fernley was stopped at its own 31 yard line on 4th and 2.
After Aaron Proctor returned the ensuing kickoff to the Fernley 44, Fernley quarterback Zach Burns lost the ball when he was hit from behind, and Raphael Cervantez returned the fumble 43 yards for a touchdown to give the Fightin’ Irish a 28-26 lead.
On their next possession, the Vaqueros again came up short on fourth down, when Cooper Henderson was stopped for no gain on a fake punt at Fernley’s 42.
Two plays later, Anthony Heard scored on an 8-yard run for a 35-26 lead with 9:15 left in the game.
Fernley had dominated most of the game up until the sudden turnaround.
The Vaqueros took a 7-0 lead on a 2-yard fumble recovery with about 7 minutes left in the first quarter.
An 8-yard touchdown run by Aaron Proctor with 3:51 left in the second quarter made it 14-0 Fernley, and started a flurry of action to end the first half, after the Vaqueros converted two long third down plays to keep the drive alive.
The Fightin’ Irish got on the board with 1:12 left in the half to cut the lead to 14-7.
Fernley struck right back, converting on 3rd and 19 to lead to an 18-yard touchdown pass from Burns to Cameron Bertok for a 20-7 lead with 24 seconds left in the half.
But Sacred Heart Cathedral needed just two plays to answer, scoring on a 5-yard pass from Irons to Heard with 11.2 seconds left in the half.
The Vaqueros put together their best drive of the game to start the third quarter, controlling the ball for more than 7 minutes and scoring on a 1-yard run by Burns with 6:39 left in the third quarter, to lead 26-14.