Fernley football rolls to win | NevadaAppeal.com

Fernley football rolls to win

FERNLEY – The Fernley Vaqueros unveiled their new 3-5-3 defense, and the results were better than expected.

Led by Chris Leonard, Cody McDougal and Dan Allred, the Vaqueros forced four fumbles and returned two of them for touchdowns in the first half en route to a season-opening 40-12 nonleague win over archrival Yerington Friday night.

“It was a great way to start the season,” veteran coach Dave Hart said. “We put a lot of effort and hard work into this defense. They attacked the ball well. I’m real excited. I don’t think our defense has ever scored twice in a game. Heck, I remember seasons where we didn’t score twice defensively all season.

“This was big for our junior class. They hadn’t won a game the last two seasons. We started five sophomores on defense, and I thought they all played well.”

In fact, all facets of the Vaqueros’ game seemed to be on. The offense produced three scores and the special teams got into the act with an 87-yard kickoff return by Bryan Jones, who scored three times.

But the day really belonged to the defense, which besides the two scores, helped set up one other with a fumble recovery. Yerington rushed for 240 yards, but much of it came when the game was already decided, and when the Vaqueros needed a stop they got one.

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Leonard was in the middle of much of the action, and Hart was quick to praise his two-way standout.

“He’s big and strong,” Hart said. “He works real hard, and I think he’s one of the best (linemen) in Northern Nevada.”

A special teams gaffe gave Fernley its first break of the game, as Josh Inserra called for a fair catch, but let the ball bounce. It went off his leg and was recovered by Robert Tansill at the Yerington 45.

A 14-yard pass from Dan Henderson to Allred, and a 15-yard run by Jones gave the Vaqueros a first-and-goal at the Yerington 10. Four plays later, Jones smashed over from the 1 for the score. Henderson tossed a two-point conversion pass to Steve Geil to make it 8-0 with 4:18 left.

Fernley was on the board 58 seconds later when Allred picked up a loose ball and returned it 34 yards for a score to make it 14-0 with 3:20 remaining.

Yerington took the ensuing kickoff and drove 57 yards in six plays and a penalty. Ricky Menesine, who led all rushers with 113 yards, capped the drive when he bolted 36 yards for a score on a fourth-and-1 play to make it 14-6 as time expired in the quarter.

Fernley put the game out of reach with a 20-point second quarter, highlighted by Jones’ 87-yard kickoff return to make it 20-6 with 11:46 left in the half.

Exactly 64 seconds later, the Fernley defense came up with another huge play, as Andre Rempp fumbled after a short gain, and McDougal picked the ball up on the bounce and raced 52 yards for a score and a 26-6 lead.

A Matt Hartly fumble recovery set up Fernley’s final score of the half, a 25-yard pass from Henderson (65 yards passing) to Jones, who also rushed for 43 yards. Travis Munoz ran in the two-point conversion to make it 34-6.

Travis McCurry (5 carries, 86 yards) continued the onslaught early in the second half when he broke off a 55-yard run to cap a three-play, 67-yard drive.

Fernley drove twice more into Yerington territory, but Henderson threw an interception and the Vaqueros lost the ball on downs when they put their JV squad into the game offensively.

Contact Darrell Moody at dmoody@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1281.