Robert Perea, The Fernley Reporter
One of the challenges every high school football team faces is the limited amount of time it has to prepare for each individual opponent.
That task comes front and center this week for the Fernley Vaqueros, who play at Lowry Friday at 7 p.m.
After playing two teams that run behind zone blocking, the Vaqueros expect to see a much different scheme out of the Buckaroos.
“The last two teams we received a lot of inside zone ran at us, and we’re not going to see that much out of Lowry,” Ward said. “At least we don’t think we are. They pull guards more, they do some different things that way.”
That left the Vaqueros coaches with a quandary, having in mind several tactical adjustments to defend that kind of rushing attack, but also not wanting to teach whole new tactics in just one week.
The weekly practice schedule allows the Vaqueros just one practice, usually on Tuesday’s, to do in depth preparation for an opponent. On Mondays, the team goes over the opponents base formation and plays, and on Wednesday they spend about 20 minutes as a refresher on what they put in on Tuesday.
Thursday is a pregame practice, where the team goes over the game plan and makes final preparations.
Ward said that’s the reason the Vaqueros have designed their base 4-4 defense, which allows them to be versatile against a variety of attacks,
“We’d like to try and make little tweaks during the week, but if we were just to show up in our base defense, I think we could give just about anybody a game,” Ward said.
Lowry runs a variety of formations, both out of the shotgun and under center, some with single backs and some with two-back sets. Ward said the two-back sets are similar to the veer offense.
“We’ve got to make sure we’re squaring our option responsibilities, who has dive, who has quarterback,” Ward said. “We want to know if we can go back to our original keys and reads.”
On defense, Lowry lines un in a base 4-4 defense similar to Fernley’s.
“They did do some different things with Spring Creek, but I don’t know if those were adjustments just for Spring Creek, we’ll have to wait and see,” Ward said. “It shouldn’t be anything that affects our count system or anything.”
Lowry is 0-2, having lost 34-14 to Battle Mountain and 35-7 to Spring Creek.
But in a similar situation last year, after a 45-7 loss to Spring Creek, the Buckaroos came to Fernley and lost 31-26, a game that wasn’t over until the Vaqueros recovered an onside kick in the final minute.
“They’re not a bad team at all, they got some good players on their team that can play ball,” Ward said. “It was kind of an ugly game last year,” Ward said. “We don’t want it to be an ugly game this year.”
Ward said last Friday’s win at Fallon was the second biggest win during the eight years he’s been head coach in Fernley, and said he hopes it will carry over.
“We’re going to try and use that momentum as much as we can,” he said. “This is what hard practices do, what they lead to, and make sure they understand that, and just continue on with what we’re doing.”