Vaqueros to take on Truckee Friday to open playoffs

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Fernley running back JR Reyes tries to elude a Dayton defender.

Robert Perea, The Fernley Reporter

Not much this season has gone the way the Fernley Vaqueros might have expected when the season began back in August. But despite a journey filled with roadblocks and detours, the Vaqueros have arrived at the playoffs, and a path for all they hope to accomplish still lies before them.

With a 57-0 win over Dayton last Friday, combined with Fallon’s win over Lowry the same night, the Vaqueros qualified for the Northern 3A playoffs despite having played just five games, and with a 2-1 league record.

With five games canceled, or seven, if you count the two weeks in which they also had a potential replacement game fall through, the Vaqueros were the only team in the Northern 3A East to play fewer than seven games. And while everyone else played at least four league games, the Vaqueros were able to get in only three. Lowry was the only league team to play five games, but the Buckaroos went 2-3 in league play, losing to each of the three teams that did make the playoffs.

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As the No. 3 seed, the Vaqueros must go on the road to take on the West Division No. 2 seed, Truckee, Friday at 6 p.m.. The Wolverines come in at 6-3 overall, 4-1 in the Northern 3A West. They also own a 21-6 win at Fallon and lost 14-13 to Elko, the other two playoff teams from the East.

Coach Chris Ward said Truckee is a good, physical team.

“Typical Truckee,” he said. “They play good team ball. Their kids play hard, they don’t quit.”

As they traditionally have, the Wolverines prefer to move the ball on the ground, averaging 228.3 yards rushing per game. Ward said they have incorporated some spread into their Wing-T offense. Two different quarterbacks, senior Jackson Kahl and junior Julian Hall, have combined to pass for 126.9 yards per game. They have two receivers who average more than 20 yards per catch, and another who averages 16.5.

Having entered the week unsure whether they would make the playoffs, Ward said the Vaqueros are excited just to be involved.

“We’ve been able to make the playoffs now 12 years in a row,” he said. “That’s pretty good.”

Knowing they needed a win over Dayton and a Lowry loss to Fallon last Friday, the Vaqueros wasted no time taking care of their part of the equation.

They scored the first six times they had the ball, leading 33-0 after the first quarter and 41-0 at the half. Traven Cassinelli had 37-yard and 4-yard touchdown runs, Austin Hobson ran 25 and 8 yards for a pair of scores and Emiliano Alonzo also ran for two touchdowns, from 50 and 1 yard, while JR Reyes and Gabe Tollestrup also had touchdown runs.

Ward said the Vaqueros came into the game wanting to put it away early and get out with no injuries.

“We wanted to get that first group of guys off of there and be fresh for next week so we could be focused and get good practice in next week, and we were able to do that, so that was good,” he said.

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