Fernley overcame a nightmarish first half - particularly the first two minutes, to come from behind for an 18-15 win over Rite of Passage Friday at home in football.
The Vaqueros improved to 3-0 and 2-0 in 3-A conference play. Fernley's defense also came up big late in the game with a goal line stand to preserve the win.
Fernley turned the ball over four times in the first quarter and five times in the first half. ROP took a 15-0 lead just two minutes into the game on two 30-yard scoring passes, an extra point and a two-point conversion.
The Vaqueros cut the lead to 15-2 at halftime when they scored on a safety on a snap over the punter's head through the end zone.
Matt Lambeth hit Shane Stokes with a 45-yard touchdown pass and Danny McGuin scored on the two-point conversion to cut the lead to 15-10. In the fourth quarter, Joey Fennessey scored ona 40-yard run and Jason Juliot caught a pass from Lambeth for the two-point conversion to give Fernley an 18-15 lead.
But with three minutes left in the game, ROP had second and goal at the 1-yard line. Fernley's defense, though, came through with its biggest stand of the season to preserve the victory.
"I was pleased with the second half and the way the kids overcame real huge adversity," Fernley Coach Dave Hart said. "We lost a lot of close games last year. I think the kids learned from that."
Leading Fernley's defense were Scott Gillespie and Kyle Davis, who each had 12 tackles. The defense line of James Barnes, Scott Burton, Mike Hudgins and Robert Berhorst also had an outstanding game.