Sky’s the limit for Fernley football
Nevada Appeal News Service
The sky’s the limit for the Fernley football team.
After Saturday’s scrimmage at North Valleys, Vaqueros coach Mark Hodges can see his team capable of a Northern 3A state title this season.
“To win every game, plain and simple. That’s what we go out there to do,” Hodges said of his team’s top priority. “We want to play hard in games that we lose. If we don’t win, we want to give ourselves a chance to win. We don’t want to sabotage ourselves.”
Fernley opens the season today in a non-league contest against Fallon in Fernley. The junior varsity teams play at 4:45 p.m. followed by the varsity at 7:30 p.m.
Hodges, who replaced Dave Hart last season, compiled a 5-5 overall record, 2-4 in league with the two wins against Dayton and Lowry. The second-year coach said the goal for every year should be winning state.
“That’s our goal every year without failure,” he said. “That’s the kind of program we’re building with that attitude. Any team you have, you use the previous years as an example for things to watch and develop a positive team pathology that’s going to blast.”
In all but one of Fernley’s losses last season, the Vaqueros were in position to win. Hodges thrives on knowing that because improvements can lead to Fernley being one of the top teams in the conference.
“We can be as successful as anybody,” he said. “We were only out of one game. By the end of the third quarter, they (Truckee) were taking it to us. Every game that we lost, we were right there. We learned to fight last year. It was a good start. We’re after a state title. We’re going to work at it. That’s the ultimate goal.”
With this year’s squad, Hodges hasn’t been able to single out a vocal leader. Instead, he said the team is quiet, but can get the job done.
“It’s more of a quiet team. We don’t have a lot of vocal kids,” Hodges added. “They get along really well. They’re becoming a tight group. The camaraderie is really good. I’m pleased with the progress of them getting along well.”
The scrimmage against Hug and Truckee over the weekend gave Hodges a better idea for areas to improve.
“I think it went pretty well. I can’t complain,” Hodges said of the scrimmage. “I think we came out it pretty healthy. We wanted to get a look at kids in different positions. We’re really pleased in some parts. Overall, we’re encouraged by our progress.”
Hodges said Fernley needs to work on its tackling and be more physical on offense.
“We definitely need to improve on our tackling defensively and getting our line corrected,” Hodges added. “Our tackling has to get better. We’re going to spend a lot of time on our tackling.”
Hodges was pleased with the offense’s snap count and said both the pass and run schemes are improving.
“We did a good job varying our snap count. I was pleased with that,” he said. “The physical play of the offensive line was good. We need to get a little bit more physical up front.
“The passing is better than I thought it would be at this time. We mix a lot. We try to put the ball in a bunch of people’s hands. We put it into nine different kids’ hands (Saturday).”
The scrimmage gave Hodges a look at Fernley’s offense and defense, but said the special teams aspect can only be worked on during practice.
“It wasn’t a much part of what was going on,” Hodges said about the special teams not working in the scrimmage. “We work on special teams everyday. We spend time on it.”
Hodges highlighted his long snappers and said the return game is improving going into Friday’s game.
“I’m pleased with our long snappers. We have a lot to improve on,” he said. “You really don’t know until you play a game. Our return game is progressing. We have potential in both punting and kicking. They have the ability. They’re just not consistent.”
Fernley has two of its top skilled position players back from last year in Travis McCurry, who was named to the all-Sierra Nevada team last season, and Brandon Frunk.