Robert Perea, The Fernley Reporter
Coach Chris Ward and the Fernley Vaqueros had three basic goals heading into Thursday’s season finale at Dayton – secure the victory, get some extensive playing time for backups, and get out of the game without any serious injuries.
In this case, two out of three wasn’t so good.
The Vaqueros beat Dayton 48-0 to finish the regular season undefeated in the Northern 3A, with backups playing most of the last three quarters of the game.
However, Cooper Henderson suffered a potentially serious injury in the fourth quarter, costing the Vaqueros a slotback, backup quarterback and their placekicker to what coach Chris Ward feared is a broken collarbone.
“One of the things I worry about in games like this is someone either getting ejected for having a big mouth or losing their head, or losing someone to injury,” Ward said. “Hoping that he’s okay, but I think he might have broken his collarbone.”
Henderson’s injury was the only blemish in a game where the Vaqueros defense pitched its third shutout of the season, holding Dayton to minus-8 yards of total offense.
The Vaqueros finished the league season unbeaten at 8-0 and will be the No. 1 seed for the regional playoffs.
“It’s tough to do because the league is a tough league,” Ward said. “You’ve got to be ready every week, so I think it’s a big accomplishment for our guys to do that. I’m proud of them, happy for them. They put in a lot of work and they deserve it.”
The Vaqueros will get a bye week before hosting either South Tahoe or Truckee on Nov. 9
Truckee defeated South Tahoe Saturday afternoon to finish at 7-2 and create a three-way tie for second place with Spring Creek and Churchill County.
Spring Creek, Fallon and Truckee are each 1-1 within the tie, bringing the point differential tiebreaker into effect. Spring Creek is plus+13 vs. Churchill County and minus-12 vs. Truckee for a total of plus+1. Fallon is minus-13 vs. Spring Creek and plus+13 vs. Truckee for a total of 0. Truckee is minus-13 vs. Fallon and plus+12 vs. Spring Creek for a total of minus-1.
Spring Creek wins the tie-breaker and gets the highest seed available (No. 2).
Then, reverting to head-to-head play, Fallon defeated Truckee and thus gets the No. 3 seed, knocking Truckee to the No. 4.
Truckee will host South Tahoe (#5) on Saturday, Nov. 4, with Fernley hosting the winner at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 9. Fallon will host Sparks (#6) this Friday, Nov. 3, and the winner will play at Spring Creek at 7 p.m. on Nov. 9.
The Vaqueros jumped on Dayton early, taking a 7-0 lead with 7:26 left in the first quarter on a 31-yard touchdown pass from Zach Burns to Aaron Proctor.
After Proctor returned a punt to the Dayton 12-yard line, Shawn Gleason scored on a 6-yard run to make it 14-0.
Burns hit Cameron Bertok with an 11-yard touchdown pass with 1:42 left in the first to make it 21-0.
A 7-yard touchdown run by Burns and a 67-yard run by Gleason made it 35-0, ensuring the second half would be played with a running clock.
With backups in the game in the second half, Jordan Presley make it 41-0with a 28-yard touchdown run with 1:15 left in the third quarter, then Bailey Mendes recovered a fumble in the end zone to make the final margin 48-0.
“I think I played football for 13 or 14 years and I never scored a touchdown,” Ward said. “Good for him, though.”
Ward said he was happy to get everyone on the team some extensive playing time.
“We were kind of trying to figure out how we could do that, to get quality time for everybody,” he said. I think we got some solid efforts, got some good playing time for them.”
Passing: Burns 3-3-2-0, 51 yards. Henderson 1-3-0-0. 4 yards, Steele 1-4-0-0, 24 yards
Rushing: Pritchard 3-26, Presley 6-51, Kuha 2-7, Henderson 5-34, Gleason 3-74, Kellison 1-(minus 1), Lemon 2-15, Burns 1-7
Receiving: Proctor 1-31, Nguyen 2-13, Bertok 1-11, Kellison 1-24