By Robert Perea, The Fernley Reporter
Fernley High School football coach Chris Ward was hoping Friday’s game against Dayton would provide his team with a confidence boost heading into this week’s playoff game.
Touchdowns on the first three plays of the game should do the trick.
The Vaqueros scored on their first three offensive snaps, totaling 201 yards, and rolled to a 47-27 win over Dayton last Friday.
The Vaqueros led by as much as 34-0 and 40-6 before finishing the game with mostly backups on the field.
“That was good, huh? Three plays, three scores,” Ward said. “Sometimes they look like that on the board. They usually don’t look like that on the field, though. Nice to have.”
Quarterback Zach Burns on a post pattern on Fernley’s first offensive play of the game for a 73-yard touchdown. Next time the Vaqueros got the ball, Willy Pritchard went 69 yards through the right side of the line for a 13-0 lead.
A little more than two minutes later, it was 20-0 when Burns hit Cameron Bertok on another deep pass for a 59-yard touchdown.
“That’s a big confidence builder right there,” Ward said. “Those three plays right off the get-go, I think put them on the ropes right away and then we could just go ahead, get a couple more scores and get our kids in, get our kids that deserve to play all season long.”
A.C. Reyes added a 19-yard touchdown run on the first play of the second quarter and Pritchard scored his second touchdown from two yards out with 9:39 left in the quarter for a 34-0 lead.
After that, the Vaqueros began to pull their starters, particularly on defense and on the offensive line.
“We were able to get them some quality time, so that was good,” Ward said. “It’s been a tough year that way, to try to get the kids into the game. We usually try to set it up where we take care of the game first, but we weren’t in that situation a lot of it this year, with the exception of maybe a game or two.”
Burns would up with 228 yards passing on just five completions in nine attempts. Pritchard led the Vaqueros in rushing with 154 yards on 10 carries.
“I think it gives our kids confidence,” Ward said. “That’s the best we’ve played in a while and it was nice coming back from that Truckee game where it was so wet and kind of miserable.”
The Vaqueros finish the regular season with a 4-5 record and are the No. 6 seed for the playoffs. They will play at South Tahoe, the No 3 seed, at 7 p.m. Friday.
The Vaqueros lost 36-8 at South Tahoe on Sept. 9, a game in which they turned the ball over five times, including an interception that was returned for a touchdown after a bad snap on a punt.
“Hopefully we can carry some of that momentum over into that,” Ward said. “It will be nice to go up there again and see if we can do better this time.”
JV beats Battle Mountain
The Vaqueros JV team beat Battle Mountain 47-36 to finish its season with an 8-1 record.
“We had a fun final game,” coach Gary Stone said. “Every player got a good amount of time on the field. Battle Mountain played tough and earned our respect. Coach Wilson and I would like to say thank you to the players and parents for a great season. We are very proud of the boys.”
FERNLEY 47, DAYTON 27 First quarter F – Arroyo 73 pass from Burns (Ramirez kick) 9:49 F – Pritchard 69 run (pass failed) 5:45 F – Bertok 59 pass from Burns (Ramirez kick) 3:34 Second quarter F – Reyes 19 run (Ramirez kick) 11:50 F – Pritchard 2 run (Ramirez kick) 9:39 D – Willhite 8 run (run failed) 4:33 F – Pritchard 4 run (kick failed) 3:47 D – Jesse Schmidt 1 run (Willhite run) :41.2 Third quarter F – Burns 2 run (Ramirez kick) :58.8 Fourth quarter D – Jesse Schmidt 2 run (run failed) 7:18 D – Fletcher 3 run (Gonzalez kick) :56.7 Passing Dayton: Fletcher 5-12-0-0, 60 yards, Justin Schmidt 0-1-0-0, Jesse Schmidt 2-3-0-0, 63 yards Fernley: Burns 5-9-0-2, 228 yards Rushing Dayton: Willhite 14-74, Fletcher 8-16, Jesse Schmidt 27-159, Justin Schmidt 6-6, Chandler 1-(minus 3), Lunz 4-11 Fernley: Pritchard 10-154, Bertok 3-(minus 3), Reyes 7-43, Arroyo 1-1, Ramirez 4-31, Henderson 1-6, Unger 2-(minus 1), Burns 5-9 Receiving Dayton: Crosby 1-7, Justin Schmidt 2-28, Chandler 3-68, Willhite 1-20, Fernley: Arroyo 1-73, Bertok 1-59, Terra 1-32, Henderson 1-58, Ortiz 1-6
Photos by Robert Perea, The Fernley Reporter