Robert Perea, The Fernley Reporter
Before they’d even broken a sweat, the Fernley Vaqueros found themselves unexpectedly trailing by a touchdown against Wooster.
It might have been the best thing that could have happened to them.
Fernley responded with three touchdowns in the first quarter and rolled to a 42-14 win, to move to 7-0 in the Northern 3A, setting up their second major showdown in three weeks.
Zach Burns threw four touchdown passes and the Fernley defense completely stymied the Wooster offense after the opening possession.
Wooster opened the game with a successful onside kick, and four plays later, scored on a 36-yard touchdown pass to take a 7-0 lead.
“We got some guys up front, that they’re not known for their hands,” Fernley coach Chris Ward said with a laugh. “I think that kind of woke us up.”
Fernley answered right back on its first possession, driving for a 15-yard touchdown pass from Burns to Zac Terra to tie the game, 7-7.
The Vaqueros then caught Wooster with their own onside kick, and after a 43-yard touchdown pass from Burns to A.J. Kuha was called back because of a penalty, Willie Pritchard scored on a 38-yard run on the next play to put Fernley ahead 14-7.
Fernley forced Wooster to punt on the Colts’ next possession, and on the fourth play of Fernley’s next drive, Burns connected with Kuha for a 36-yard touchdown pass and a 21-7 lead with 2.5 seconds left in the first half.
“I think A.J. Kuha had some big plays,” Ward said.
Fernley scored twice in the last three minutes of the third quarter to take full command.
First, Shawn Gleason scored on a 15-yard run to cap a 51-yard drive that started with a 24-yard pass from Burns to Cameron Bertok.
Then on the first play after a Wooster punt, Burns hit Cooper Henderson with a short pass that Henderson turned into a 40-yard touchdown for a 35-7 lead with 1:25 left in the first half.
“We told them at halftime that we got punched in the mouth and then we were able to bounce back,” Ward said. “I was glad how they bounced back.”
Fernley took its first possession of the third quarter 80 yards for another score, on a 5-yard pass from Burns to Russel Ortiz, after a 25-yard pass from Burns to Ortiz got the Vaqueros close to the goal line.
That put the game into a running clock, until Wooster scored on a 2-yard run by Brandon Reich with 5:13 left in the game.