Fernley comes back to beat Lowry
Fernley High coach Dave Hart wouldn’t call it the biggest win his program has ever had. But it was quite big by any standard.
For the first time under Hart’s direction, the Vaqueros were able to win at Lowry, coming from behind for a 21-15 win on Friday in Winnemucca. The win was also important for Fernley in the race for the Northern 3A playoffs.
The Vaqueros (4-2, 2-1) have league games left with Truckee, North Tahoe and Dayton. The top four teams will advance to the zone playoffs with the No. 1 seed playing the No. 4 seed and the No. 2 seed playing the No. 3 seed. The winners of those games will advance to the state playoffs.
One win in its last three league games could be good enough to advance Fernley to the playoffs and two wins would definitely secure a playoff berth.
“The kids are excited and I’m excited,” Hart said. “It was a very good win. It’s been a while since we’ve won on the road. I wouldn’t say it was our all-time best win.”
Fernley took a 6-0 lead when Cody McDougal scored on a 6-yard run. “It was a good drive,” Hart said. “It was just boom, boom, boom. It was a good team effort.”
The Vaqueros then tried a trick play on the two-point conversion. “It bombed,” Hart said.
Fernley had other chances to extend its lead. The Vaqueros caused a turnover and drove inside the 5-yard line, but missed a field goal.
Fernley then drove inside the 10, but couldn’t convert on first down. “We could have been up 21-0,” Hart said.
Lowry used its veer option to take a 15-6 lead. Fernley mounted another drive at the end of the half, but ran out of time.
Fernley was able to shut down Lowry’s veer in the second half and scored twice in the third quarter. A screen pass from Dan Henderson to McDougal set up Travis McCurry’s scoring run and Steve Geil kicked the extra point to make it 15-13. McDougal followed with his second TD run and McCurry ran it in for the two-pointer to make it 21-15.
The Vaqueros forced three turnovers in the second half, including two key Brian Jones interceptions in the fourth quarter. The play of outside linebackers Robert Tansill and McCurry was also key in stopping Lowry’s veer.
Defensive lineman John Phoenix came back from an ankle injury to play well and Matt Hartley had 11 tackles. Mike Morrisey also stepped in at defensive back due to an injury and played well.
Jesse Turner, who couldn’t play defensive back due to an ankle injury, still limped onto the field to be Fernley’s long snapper, which was key because Chris Leonard’s punting also played a huge role.
“I thought that was pretty courageous,” Hart said. “It turned out to be a pretty big effort.
“A lot of kids stepped up and played big. They showed a lot of heart and we’re really, really proud of them.”