Virginia City easily beats McDermitt
Appeal Sports Writer
VIRGINIA CITY – When the Virginia City Muckers football team ran out onto their football field on Saturday, it was to the pulse-pounding, head-banging song “American Witch,” by Rob Zombie.
But when they were through with their Northern 1A West Division opponent McDermitt, the highlights of their nightmarish 58-0 victory the Bulldogs at Virginia City High School would have been more at home in Zombie’s slasher movie “House of 1,000 Corpses.”
The 58 points eclipsed their 56-point effort against Pyramid Lake on Sept. 8 as the most points and widest margin of victory the team has managed since it was re-formed after dropping football during the 1943 season.
Seniors Zack Ullom and Jared Craig each had three touchdowns as the Muckers took a 23-0 lead after one quarter and a 44-0 lead into halftime and never let up in winning their first league game.
Virginia City is 1-0 in the West and 3-2 overall with three league games remaining in its first season of eight-man ball, while McDermitt fell to 0-2, 1-4.
Ullom, who was held to 45 yards rushing in a 28-16 loss to Wells last week, gained 191 yards on 19 carries for Virginia City and scored from 7, 13 and 39 yards out. He has 767 yards rushing in five games for the Muckers, who are now 3-0 on their home field.
Ullom is averaging 153.4 yards rushing per game.
Craig hauled in two touchdown passes from senior quarterback Matt McDougald – including a 57-yarder to open the scoring 54 seconds into the game – and later added a 35-yard interception return for a TD off of Bulldogs quarterback Jacob Kershner to give the Muckers a 37-0 lead at 11:16 of the second quarter.
The Muckers gained 399 yards offensively, while their defense stymied the Bulldogs, who managed 79 total yards, including 26 on the ground.
Kershner led three Bulldogs quarterbacks, completing 7-of-16 passes for 53 yards and one interception. Joel Lopez led the McDermitt running attack with 25 yards on five carries. The Muckers held two Bulldogs – Troy Rodriguez and Tom Elordi – to minus-17 yards on five attempts.
Junior defensive back Jose Martinez recovered a Lopez fumble in the second quarter and gained 17 yards on two carries later in the game.
Craig said his team came out focused after a poor showing early against Wells, when it gave up 28 points in the first half.
“We didn’t come out to play at all (against Wells),” Craig said. “We never came off the bus. Our defense was great this week. We worked on our pass coverage. (McDermitt) and Coleville next week are all passing, so we worked on that.”
Craig said defensive pressure on Kershner led to his second-quarter pick.
“We blitzed with one of our guys. I saw the quarterback look over, then I went over and got the ball,” he said.
Craig saw a quarterback look his way twice more and went over and got the ball two more times, but in this case it was his own signal-caller, McDougald. McDougald found him for two scores, including a 29-yarder to give the Muckers a 30-0 lead at 11:16 of the second quarter. Craig would score on his interception only 16 seconds later.
“Matt led me. He saw me open with no one near me – I was open and don’t know if anyone was covering me,” Craig said. “On that last one he could’ve thrown to Josh (Hughes), but he threw it to me.”
McDougald was 3-for-4 passing for 115 yards and two touchdowns. He added 14 yards on four carries and a pair of 2-point conversions (both runs), the second following Ullom’s 7-yard TD to give the Muckers a 16-0 lead at 6:43 of the first quarter.
“Our offensive line was a little shaky in the beginning, but they got into the game and gave me good pass protection,” McDougald said. “Our backs have given me good pass protection – they’ve been awesome the last three weeks. And (the line) is working so hard to get the run going.”
And to great effect.
“We had some really good blocking,” said Ullom, who was playing with a pulled muscle in his leg. “Our center David Grey was pulling great.”
Senior running back Danny Millim added 38 yards on 10 carries and his 6-yard score put VCHS up 23-0 at 3:49 of the first quarter. In addition to paving the way for Ullom’s three touchdowns, Virginia City’s O-line opened the door for freshman Justin Bigelow, whose 1-yard TD closed out the scoring.
“That kid has stepped up a lot as a freshman,” McDougald said of the short-but-stout Bigelow. “He’s going out there and playing against those big guys. His going up and scoring was awesome. Our lower classmen stepped up once again this week.”
Virginia City coach Ron Presley said it was a good example of team football.
“We spread it around well this week,” Presley said. “It wasn’t just the Zack Ullom show. Danny Millim had some good yards and got a touchdown. Jared got (two offensive) touchdowns. Our freshman scout team fullback (Bigelow) got a touchdown. We were running a straight dive (on Bigelow’s score). He didn’t have any lead blockers. It was all him.”
After the game, Presley stressed to his players that they have only three games left in the season and that he wanted 12 all-out quarters from them.
“Three more league games and we can get to the playoffs,” Presley said. “Who’s to say we’re going to make it, but we gotta have a goal. We’ll take it one game at a time and see where it takes us.”
Virginia City will host Coleville Saturday at 1 p.m. and attempt to give a better showing than it did when the teams played in a scrimmage early in the season, one that happened to be the first time the Muckers had contact with another team.
“We need to come out and play with more intensity,” Ullom said. “The games aren’t going to get easier. We want to get to 4-0 (in league) and get Wells to come here (in the playoffs). If we don’t make the playoffs, we want to go undefeated on our home field.”
Added McDougald: “It would be a heck of a tradition to start (5-0) on our home field.”
So much for being the new kids on the block. The Muckers are beginning to sound like they belong.