RENO - Greg Sakelaris must have been a riverboat gambler in a previous life because on this night he rolled the dice and came up with a lucky seven. With a state playoff berth for the first time in school history on the line, no less.
Thanks in large part to a decision by Sakelaris to go for a fake punt that paid off, the Galena football team defeated Reed 14-11 Friday at home to virtually assure its first playoff berth in school history.
The Grizzlies (2-5, 2-1) can strengthen their playoff position with a win at Fallon this Friday, and in the process, set up an unthinkable showdown for the High Desert League title at undefeated McQueen in the final regular season game.
Galena also needed huge efforts from several players to beat Reed, including Luke Penrose, who gained 113 yards on 27 carries. Penrose also picked up first downs on several key third down conversions and made a touchdown-saving tackle late in the game to preserve the win.
The Grizzlies appeared to be in control with a 14-3 lead when Reed's Thai Welty returned a punt 56 yards for a touchdown. Cody Fleming then hit Pat Carey for the two-point conversion to cut the lead to 14-11.
On its ensuing possession, Galena faced a fourth-and-six at its own 43-yard line. But Galena faked the punt and Robby Lund raced 33 yards down to the Reed 24.
"We knew they would bring everybody," Sakelaris said. "Our defense was playing well. I felt our kids knew what was at stake."
Then on fourth-and-seven at the Reed 21, Penrose picked up eight yards on a screen pass from Jared Cartinella, which actually was a lateral, to pick up another key first down.
It appeared on fourth-and-inches at the three, Cartinella picked up the first down on a quarterback sneak, but he was marked just short of the marker. Galena, though, didn't turn the ball over until there was one minute, 39 seconds left.
Reed wasn't dead just yet. Fleming completed a 51-yard pass to Welty and only a tackle by Penrose at the Galena 37 prevented the play from going all the way.
"I just made sure he didn't get past me," Penrose said.
Phil Blair went on to make an interception off of a deflection to seal the victory.
T.C. Ghisletta sacked Fleming to help set up Galena's first score on its opening drive. Ghisletta followed with a 17-yard reception from Cartinella.
That set up a 20-yard touchdown catch off of a deflection by Vann Adams to give Galena a 6-0 lead.
Reed's Jose Nunez kicked a 38-yard field goal to make the score 6-3 at halftime.
Ghisletta caught a 21-yard TD pass from Cartinella and Cartinella connected with Adams for the two-point conversion to give Galena a 14-3 lead in the third quarter. On the ensuing kickoff, Terry Berent made a tackle at the five to maintain Galena's momentum.
John Schaller added a sack for Galena.