Bucks rebuilding with new coach
The Humboldt Sun
At a glance
Coach: Taua Cabatbat
2014 result: 6-3 league, 7-4 overall, fourth place; lost 34-6 to Fallon in regional playoffs
Sept. 4 vs. Fernley, 7 p.m.
Sept. 12 at Truckee, 1:30 p.m.
Sept. 18 vs. Wooster, 7 p.m.
Sept. 25 at South Tahoe, 7 p.m.
Oct. 2 vs. Dayton, 7 p.m.
Oct. 9 at Elko, 7 p.m.
Oct. 16 at Sparks, 7 p.m.
Oct. 23 vs. Spring Creek, 7 p.m.
Oct. 29 vs. Fallon, 7 p.m.
For the past several years, the Lowry High School football team has been one of the most successful in the state of Nevada. The Buckaroos have sent a number of its players off to college and they are contributing in big ways at the next level.
However, it’s a different look this fall in many ways. Long-time head coach Tim Billingsley retired after the 2014 season and assistant coach Taua Cabatbat has taken over the program, bringing his style to the Buckaroos.
In addition, Lowry must replace 27 players from a season ago, as just seven players return from the varsity squad.
“We know we lost a lot of guys,” Cabatbat said. “We have a lot of young kids coming up to the varsity, but they know me from school and practice. We are not going to change too much and stick with the same thing. We will be mostly a team of juniors and there will be some bumps along the road. We want to change the mindset and attitude of this group. I just want them to work hard.”
Look for Brady Lange, a junior, to take over the quarterback position for the Buckaroos. Lange saw his first action at quarterback last year at the JV level.
“He improved throughout the year,” Cabatbat said. “It’s a big jump up to the next level. We don’t want him to feel that he has to do too much, it will be a learning experience.”
His backup will be Nate Nelson, one of the few seniors on the squad. Nelson will also play wide receiver and cornerback. He was honorable mention selection in the Division I-A North at cornerback in 2014.
The running back spots look to get filled by junior Jacob Hernandez and senior Mason Morrison. Morrison missed a majority of the 2014 season, rushing for just 27 yards. Hernandez played in nine games, rushing for 19 yards.
Lowry lost 2,600 yards on the ground and 30 touchdowns with the graduation of Beau Billingsley, Donovan Brumm and Christian Gray.
“We have some pretty good skill guys back,” Cabatbat said. “But, they didn’t see a lot of time last year behind those other guys.”
Lowry does bring back four players on the offensive and defensive lines in Shaun Mentaberry, Mikeas Somers, Chris Karchella and Anthony Silva. A large group of lineman have moved up from the JV team as well.
“I think we have good front five,” said the coach. “We have all the right pieces, we just need to get them working together. We had some rough moments in the scrimmage against Elko and that will happen. They weren’t used to the speed. It’s a different animal at this level. I expected a lot of what I saw. I want them to have a good attitude. This group hasn’t won that many games in the past couple of years. We got to get them to believe in themselves.”
Look for Jed Teichert, Roberto Rodriguez and Michael Venzor to take some reps at the wide receiver spot. They played that position last year with the junior varsity.
The Buckaroos have been mostly a run first team over the past few years, but slowly added to the passing game. That should be the same for this season, but the Buckaroos will not be afraid to throw the ball if needed, keeping opposing defenses honest.
It will be much of the same on the defensive side of the ball as well
Defensively in 2014, Lowry allowed 24 points a game. The Buckaroos held six opponents to 24 points or less
The run to the top of the Northern Division I-A will be a tough one for the Buckaroos with the likes of Fallon, Elko, Spring Creek, Fernley and Truckee.
Lowry will not play a 10th game this season and open its season on Sept. 4, against Fernley in Winnemucca at 7 p.m. It’s the league opener for both teams
The schedule is a little more favorable for the Buckaroos with five home games. Lowry hits the road for the first time on Sept. 12, with a trip to Truckee. The Buckaroos return home to play Wooster on Sept. 18, and they will go back to California and Lake Tahoe on Sept. 25 to play South Tahoe.
This year’s Homecoming game will be Oct. 2 against Dayton. After road trips to Elko (Oct. 9) and Sparks (Oct. 16), Lowry closes out the regular season at home versus Spring Creek (Oct. 23) and Fallon (Oct. 29).
The top four teams in the league advance to the regional playoffs, where the No. 1 seed will host the No. 4 seed, while the No. 3 seed travels to face the No. 2 seed. From there, the teams will be re-seeded for the state semifinals to account for the two Southern I-A schools.
Moapa Valley and Desert Pines should provide the toughest challenges in the Southern DI-A. Moapa Valley overcame a large fourth-quarter deficit to Desert Pines last year in the state championship to win the title.
“You want to win every game you play, but that is not what we are looking at this year,” Cabatbat said. “I want to see us compete. My big deal is that we improve. I want to see kids grow and not making as many mistakes. We will be alright. We are trying to find ourselves as a team right now. We need and identity. What are we going to be and what are we going to do? If we can get some wins and be around .500 that will be a good year for us.”