Blue dominates all-star game
Appeal Sports Writer
RENO – Heading into the 25th annual Sertoma Classic Friday at Mackay Stadium, Lovelock head football coach Dave McLean was a little concerned about his Team Blue offense.
“Honestly, I was wondering if our offense could move the ball (against Team Silver),” a soaked McLean said after Team Blue’s dominating 24-0 victory over Team Silver. “Our defense was so dominant in practice, I really questioned if our offense could execute. We found out tonight that our defense was just that good.”
Indeed it was. Team Silver had four real scoring opportunities – three of them came off of turnovers – but it came up empty every time as Team Blue’s defense had it moving backward almost as much as it went forward.
Team Blue’s offense also proved more than adequate to the task, taking a 10-0 lead with 5 minutes, 28 seconds left in the first half, devouring over 8 minutes of the clock on one drive before going up 17-0 in the third quarter and let the defense do the rest.
“It was a great team. It was a great week. It was a lot of fun,” said McLean, who took one of the hardest hits of the night from his own victorious team when a pair of players – including Lovelock quarterback Sean Ward – nailed an unsuspecting McLean full-on with a bucket of water to the back as the final seconds ticked away.
“That took me a few seconds to catch my breath,” McLean said of the impromptu shower. “That was some cold water. That was fun.”
Fun was the key word for Team Blue all night in the All-Star game for graduated seniors.
Team Blue exploited a Team Silver fumble on its first drive – gathering up the ball on Silver’s 27-yard line – and after three plays Whittell’s Jeff Young got his team on the board with a 40-yard field goal 5 minutes, 56 seconds into the game.
Team Blue did even better on its second possession and went on a six-play, 58-yard drive to go up 10-0, with 5:28 to go in the first, on a 3-yard jaunt by Galena running back Ryan Krueger.
Team Blue held Team Silver to minus-7 yards on its next offensive series and after going three-and-out itself, got the ball back when Lovelock defensive back Lucas Montes lit up McQueen quarterback Ryan Wicks and Truckee’s Jorge Vazquez fell on the fumble on Team Silver’s 19. Young missed a 28-yarder to end the threat.
Team Silver had one of its best shots to score on its first possession of the second quarter when Carson’s Bryan Maffei ripped off a 29-yard run to its 49. But Maffei, who was later named Team Silver’s offensive player of the game, managed only three yards on his next two carries and Wicks took a 9-yard sack to end its drive.
Hug’s Darryl Feemster picked off Battle Mountain’s Jake Radford deep in Blue territory, but even though it started on Blue’s 22, three plays later Silver was back to the 30. Hug’s Gabe Dobbins banged his way for an 11-yard gain and Silver had a chance to get on the board, but Tom Vikre’s 37-yarder sailed wide right with 3:39 to go until the half.
An 11-play drive by Team Blue ended when Manogue’s Austin Sylvester blocked Young’s 32-yarder with 4 seconds remaining in the half.
Team Silver had one more scoring opportunity in the third quarter when Douglas defensive lineman Cory Fry fell on a Radford fumble on Blue’s 28, but three plays resulted in only one yard and once again Vikre’s field goal – this one from 45 yards out – sailed wide right.
“We wanted the kids to play and have a great experience,” McLean said of the second half. For many of them this was their last game.”
So McLean turned to his comfort zone and went to Ward.
“Sean has done a great job for us (Lovelock) the last couple of years,” McLean said. “He ran our option game pretty well. You like to have a quarterback that can do that.”
Team Blue got the ball on its own 30 with 8:51 to go in the third and began what amounted to be its defining series: a 15-play drive which ended in a touchdown and a 17-0 lead with 19 seconds to go in the third.
All but one of the plays came on the ground and Truckee running back Ben Tonon culminated the series with a 4-yard run.
Team Silver once again stubbed its toe when Reed’s Erik Tom intercepted Wicks on the Blue 45, but it got the ball back two plays later when Douglas linebacker Ryan Guzman scooped up a fumble on the 44.
Fernley quarterback Colin Hodges completed a 32-yarder to Hug’s Chris McKinish down to the 12, but Team Blue forced Silver to go into reverse and five plays later, from the 39, the drive ended in Hodge’s fourth-down incompletion.
With 7:02 remaining in the game, Blue went up 24-0 on a 23-yard run by Spring Creek running back James Edwards and Silver never threatened again.
“What nice young men,” McLean said of his team. “All week at practice it was, ‘Yes, sir,’ or ‘Thank you, sir.’ That’s the reason why they’re here. Our defense was full of pretty good athletes, coming out there and flying around. (Reed defensive lineman Jerzy) Siewierski came into the game with a lot of hype. He’s every bit of that. It was a true team effort. We came together and didn’t make many mistakes.”
Ward won the Sertoma Classic Most Valuable Player award, while Tom was Team Blue’s defensive player of the game and Edwards was Blue’s offensive player of the game.
Hug defensive lineman Derek Kosub was Team Silver’s defensive player of the game.