Fernley’s comeback bid falls short in 25-20 loss to Truckee
September 8, 2002
FERNLEY — Last year, for the time since 1982, Fernley beat Truckee 38-36 after coming back from a 21-0 deficit.
On Friday night, the Vaqueros nearly started their first win streak over the Wolverines in similar fashion.
This time, though, they spotted the defending state champions too big of a lead.
Kevin Schlesinger passed for 152 yards and Nick Smith rushed for 84 yards and two touchdowns as Truckee took advantage of four Fernley turnovers in its 25-20 win at Fernley High.
The Vaqueros (0-1) were trailing 25-0 at halftime, but then scored 20 unanswered points and held the Wolverines (1-0) to just 41 yards of offense in the second half. Pete Borda blocked a punt and both Adam Session and Borda recovered the ball in the end zone with 1:03 left in the game to make it 25-20.
But Fernley’s ensuing onside kick never panned out as Truckee took over on the the Vaquero 44 and ran out the clock to end the game.
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“It’s like I told the guys at halftime, let’s just try and get better in the second half,” coach Dave Hart said. “I said let’s get the ball and score right away, then stop them and get it again and score. I thought going into the fourth quarter we would be down 25-16, which didn’t happen. But we were close to that. Hey, those are the defending state champs and we really grew up in the second half tonight.”
Lonnie Hatcher might have been the best player on the field, and that includes Schlesinger. The big, bruising back rushed for 193 yards on 22 carries, including an 80-yard touchdown run on the second play of the second half as the Vaqueros trailed 25-6. Truckee went three and out on its next two possessions, but Fernley fumbled on its next two as it went down by 19 points going into the fourth quarter.
The Vaqueros started the quarter with a nine-play, 80 yard scoring drive, capped off by Hatcher’s 13-yard TD run that made it 25-13. Fernley’s next possession brought them inside the Truckee 10, but then it had three straight plays with no gain as it turned the ball over on downs.
The Fernley defense held Truckee again, which was followed by Borda’s blocked punt. Hart just knew his team would find a way to win, if only they could’ve gotten the ball one more time. But Truckee shouldn’t have even allowed Fernley back in the game. The Wolverines held a four-posession lead in the third quarter, but sure didn’t play like it. Of the 20 plays they ran in the second half, 10 were passing. Hart didn’t mind.
“That’s what they’re going to do and we knew it,” Hart said. “We saw one of their scrimmages and they threw the ball about 60 percent of the time.”
The questionable play calling gave the Vauqero line a chance to confidence, then dominate in the second half. Fernley outgained Truckee 233-41 in the second half. First-year quarterback Danny Regalado, who was shaky in the first half, had a nice second, rushing for 44 yards on six carries. Mike King also took advantage of some big holes, gaining 47 yards on seven carries.
“I think this is a playoff team,” Hart said of his team. “(Cody) Wagner and (Travis) Bennett, they really took charge and opened up some big holes for Hatcher and King. Those are two all state linemen right there. The guys are really feeling good about themselves after coming back like that.”
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