Wave looks to derail Sparks | NevadaAppeal.com

Wave looks to derail Sparks

Mike Sciandra
msciandra@lahontanvalleynews.com
Fallon's Evan Bitter blocks an Elko punt for a safety during last week's homecoming game at the Edward Arciniega Athletic Complex.
JOHN DIRICKSON PHOTO |

The next team attempting to snap the Greenwave varsity football team’s winning streak will be the Sparks Railroaders in a home game on Friday at 7 p.m.

The Railroaders are currently 2-4 overall and 1-4 in league play, while the Wave sits at 5-1 overall and 5-0 in league play with a winning streak that seems unstoppable.

Stranger things have happened though, and head coach Brooke Hill is preparing to defend the Wave’s place near the top after the Wave won their homecoming game last week against Elko, 23-3.

“As we went back through the film it showed us pretty much what we felt throughout the night,” Hill said on the game against Elko, “that we played pretty well on both sides of the ball.

Some of the playmakers from the win against Elko included Evan Bitter, with his three sacks and a punt-block in the third quarter that some might’ve seen as the play of the game, shutting down the Indians from scoring any further. Senior Johnny Mayo had solid blocking and the first touchdown of the game in the second that put the Wave on the board. Cade Vercellotti and Brock Uptain both followed suit. Vercellotti scored with a minute left in the first half at the two-yard line and Uptain ran 70-yards for a touchdown two minutes into the fourth, while quarterback Connor Richardson refused to be sacked, boosting his passing yards to 276.

“We were really efficient offensively,” Hill said, “and Connor (Richardson) had a really strong game. And our receivers Connor Nelson and Brock Uptain had a really strong game. Cade (Vercellotti) had about his usual game for him. It was a little bit tougher game for him, but you know Elko is a good physical defense so his yards were well earned.”

“We’re doing some fundamental things really well and we’re getting lined up correctly, which is always the start of it. We’re reading our keys, playing fast, and when we get to the point of attack we’re really physical.”

Hill also said that the Wave played well defensively considering they were able to hold the Indians at three points, with particularly strong defense between Bitter and Mayo.

“We’re tackling well,” Hill said. “Johnny (Mayo) played well, you know. Johnny’s been playing well for us, but he’s a second year player and a starter for us and you know that’s what we expect of him. Like I said the other night, same with Evan. Evan is a three year starter for us and he’s always been a big play guy.” “Evan was hurt a little bit last year, he had a severe concussion he got in the summer so he missed the first three or four games of last year. Now we feel like we finally got the Evan that was a sophomore for us, who was just a tremendous playmaker then and you know it’s coming it now.”

In preparing for the home game against the Railroaders Friday, Hill cited Sparks as an improved team like several others the Wave has gone up against, since the Railroaders have this year begun winning games again. While Sparks could only hang in with their 30-0 loss to Elko, they’ve been able to flip the script in matches such as theirs against Dayton, with a win 48-0 showing that they are capable of shutting out a team instead of just being shutout themselves.

“We go through our preparation every week,” Hill said. “Monday we had our put-in, and then we had a good offensive practice this week in our scheme, and you know we’re going to have a good defensive practice today. That’s the key. The kids are really consistent, and of course we build that consistency in, so they know what to expect from day to day, what our expectation is, and they’re getting better and better at that.” “When they start learning how to practice, an entire two-hour practice all the way through, kind of fitting a game and how long a game is, then you know we’ve really come somewhere. But we’re getting there.”

While the Wave has an imposing few hurdles in their neat future, with an upcoming game against undefeated Spring Creek and Fernley the week after, Hill stated that the reality of it all is that Sparks could be just as big as those two other teams.

“Like I always say,” Hill said, “we just stay focused on who our next opponent is.”