Galena overpowers Spanish Springs, wins High Desert League opener 29-6 | NevadaAppeal.com

Galena overpowers Spanish Springs, wins High Desert League opener 29-6

Jeremy Evans

RENO — It wasn’t exactly a win over McQueen or Elko. But Galena coach Greg Sakelaris will take a win against a High Desert League opener any time, even if it comes against Spanish Springs, a second-year school playing its first varsity schedule.

Hunter Mulhall rushed for 102 yards and Matt Fry scored two touchdowns as the Grizzlies took care of the Cougars 29-6 on Friday night at Grizzly Field.

“It’s a ‘W’, we’re 1-0 in league,” said Sakelaris, who led Galena to a third place finish in the league last season. “It’s a good win for us. Just happy to be getting better.”

Galena lost to Carson 20-7 last week, despite holding a 7-6 lead in the fourth quarter. Sakelaris didn’t want to the same thing to happen against Spanish Springs, which fell to 0-3 overall and 0-1 in league play.

“We have to play to win,” Sakelaris said. “We have had the attitude of playing not to lose.”

That wasn’t a problem against the Cougars, who actually outgained the Grizzlies on the ground in the first half (117-116) but fumbled the ball twice, the first one resulting in a touchdown for Galena. Spanish Springs never got closer than the Galena 37 in the first half. The Grizzlies, meanwhile, cashed in on their opportunities.

On its first possession of the game, Galena drove 70 yards on 10 plays, capped off by Brandon Hendrix’ 1-yard touchdown run. Spanish Springs fumbled on its next possession and the Grizzlies’ Daniel Yu returned the ball to the Cougar 6 before Fry punched in a 1-yard touchdown run to make it 13-0.

Even though Galena didn’t dominate on the ground, quarterback Pat Flynn was able to balance out the attack. Flynn completed 4-of-7 passes for 55 yards in the first half and his only mistake was an interception with under two minutes left in the half. The pick killed a promising drive that ended at the Spanish Springs 31. Flynn finished with 106 yards passing in the game, including a 12-yard pass to Frank Kurnik in the third quarter that made it 19-0.

Flynn’s favorite target was Brandon Morales. Morales, who came into the game with five catches for 69 yards, fifth best in the Northern 4A with five catches for 69 yards, ended up 61 yards on four receptions against the Cougars. Kurnik caught two passes for 39 yards.

In the third quarter, Flynn was intercepted by Tye Bader, who returned the ball to the Galena 31. The Grizzly defense, though, held as Spanish Springs turned it over on downs, the second time that happened in the game. The Cougars also fumbled three times.

“We took a step backward tonight. I was embarrassed by our ugly play,” said Spanish Springs coach Frank Sandomenico. “We didn’t protect the football and we didn’t tackle.”

Hendrix finished with 58 yards rushing and Fry had 43 yards on four carries. Danny Selby led a balanced Spanish Springs running game, rushing for 60 yards, 54 of which came in the first half. Mike Martenies rushed for 58 yards on 10 carries. Bader, who scored the Cougars’ only touchdown, a 32-yard run in the third quarter that made it 19-6, finished with 41 yards on the ground.

“We tried to grind it out, get some first downs and keep things going,” Sakelaris said. “They’re going to be a good football team. We had some guys step up and make big plays.”