Blue defense dominates Silver in Sertoma Classic
BY DARRELL MOODY
Appeal Sports Writer
RENO ” When the chips were down, the Silver offense failed to come through.
The Blue all-star defense scored two touchdowns and forced another turnover in the red zone en route to a 24-13 victory in the 27th annual Sertoma Classic at Mackay Stadium on Friday.
The game turned ugly when teams started pushing and shoving. After two such incidents, game officials ended the contest with 1 minute, 53 seconds left in the game.
“I take my hat off to the Blue team,” said Yerington coach Cody Neville, who served as head coach of the Silver squad. “They had a good plan for keeping our offense off the field. Our offense was explosive. They just had to be on the field [longer].”
Unofficially, the Silver outgained the Blue 256-230, but couldn’t overcome the offensive mistakes.
“The key to the win were the two turnovers by the Silver team,” said Reno High’s Dan Avansino, who guided the Blue squad. “One of them ended up being a 14-point turnaround, because they were going in for a score, and then we went down and scored. I give credit to our defensive staff [Coach Ken Butler from McQueen].”
The swing play that Avansino was referring to came in the second quarter when the Silver squad, leading 7-0 on Cory Whitaker’s 11-yard run, was on the verge of scoring again for a two-touchdown lead.
Silver quarterback Zack Parker of Reed completed a 27-yard pass to Whitaker for a first down at the Blue 16. Three consecutive running plays gave the Silver squad a first down at the Blue 5. Whitaker was dropped for a six-yard loss and fumbled, as Blue linebacker Kirk Archuleta recovered the ball at the Blue 11.
The Blue squad drove 89 yards on seven plays, as Dayton’s Brandon Aguilera scored on a 4-yard run to make it 7-6. Alex Gonzalez’s PAT tied the game at 7 with 6:24 remaining in the second quarter.
The key to the drive was the play of Sparks’ Alex Quilici, who completed all three of his passing attempts on the drive for 78 yards. The biggest play was a 40-yard completion to Galena’s Jason Parkinson for a first down at the Silver 32. The pass hung in the air for an eternity, and Parkinson won the battle for the free ball. Three plays later, Quilici completed a 24-yarder down to the 4, and Aguilera scored on the next play.
The Silver all-stars ran into trouble again moments later when a penalty on the kickoff return backed them up to their own 8. Lovelock quarterback Karl Fredericks was dropped for a 7-yard loss back at the 1 on the first play. Fredericks appeared to take his eyes off the next snap. The ball bounced off Fredericks’ body, and Bishop Manogue’s Steve Jaykins recovered in the end zone after a wild scramble to give the Blue a 13-7 lead. Gonzalez’s PAT made it 14-7.
“It was a cadence thing,” Neville said. “It comes from not being familiar with each other.”
The Silver offense went three and out on its next series. Douglas star Jeff Nady made things worse when he shanked a 13-yard punt out to the Silver 34. The Blue was hit with a 10-yard penalty on the return, moving the ball back to the Silver 44 with 3:53 left.
The Blue stars drove 26 yards down to the 18. Gonzalez came on to kick a 35-yard field goal to make it 17-7 with 1.4 seconds left in the half. Wooster’s Narciso Esparza completed a 13-yard pass to Mitch McLane down to the 21.
The Silver squad was knocking on the door again in the early moments of the third quarter after Parker completed a 68-yard pass to Reed teammate Tyler Olivero for a first down at the Blue 5.
Parker fumbled the ensuing snap and was forced to take a 6-yard loss back at the 11. After Brock Peterson gained four yards down to the Blue 7, disaster struck again.
Parker was forced out of the pocket because of a heavy pass rush, and he tried to throw back across the middle. Spanish Springs’ Justin Fronberg stepped in front of the pass and returned it down the right sideline 92 yards for a score. Gonzalez’s PAT made it 24-7 with 8:55 left in the third quarter.
“I just dropped back into my zone,” Fronberg said. “The pass was right to me. I got great blocks, and they held their blocks. You are always thinking touchdown when that happens. I was fortunate that I had great blocks.”
Parker & Co. finally hit another big play, and this one went the distance. Parker threw a fade route to Olivero, who raced into the end zone to cut the deficit to 24-13 with 6:03 left in the game.
The Blue team fumbled the ensuing kick, but managed to recover it at its own 9. The Blue stars were able to collect two first down before the aforementioned pushing and shoving ensued after two consecutive plays.
Unofficially, Parker passed for 220 yards and a score. He proved to be a one-man show because his teammates were unable to sustain any sort of running game.
– Contact Darrell Moody at email@example.com, or by calling (775) 881-1281