The Battle Mountain High School football team played host to Yerington in the opening round of the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association Northern 2A playoffs.
The Longhorns advanced to the state semifinals with a 41-13 victory over the Lions on Friday night.
Battle Mountain head coach Mitch Domagala led his Longhorns onto Tim Knight Field for a rematch with the Lions. The playoff game brought out an aggressive Yerington team, but Battle Mountain overcame their energy with an explosive passing attack.
Battle Mountain quarterback Gabe Naveran completed 15-of-33 passes for 265 yards and five touchdowns. The Lions were able to pick off Naveran one time in the first half but failed to stop the offense enough to make any kind of difference.
The Longhorns scored on the opening drive of the game with Naveran and running back Cody Ostler leading the team down the field with three long runs. Ostler opened up the drive with a 30-yard carry to midfield, then Naveran scrambled a few more times to put the Longhorns into the red zone. Ostler finished the drive off with a 1-yard touchdown, bringing the score to 7-0 after kicker Nestor Miramontes' extra point.
Yerington responded on the following drive with a 9-yard run by Jesus Valdez but was unable to go any further and was forced to punt. Battle Mountain took over but quickly gave the ball back to Yerington with Naveran’s pass intercepted by the Lions’ Mathew Ortiz.
Yerington could not capitalize off the turnover and turned the ball back to Battle Mountain on downs. After two more possessions going nowhere for both teams, the Lions were able to get into Longhorn territory but missed a field goal to end their scoring chance. The first quarter ended with the Longhorns up 7-0.
“We came out a little too hyped up and burnt ourselves out at the start, but we dug back in and showed them who we are.” Longhorns assistant coach Randy Artz explained post-game.
The second quarter started with possessions by each team, before Naveran began to connect with his receivers. On the Longhorns second drive of the second quarter, Naveran completed two passes to wide receiver Bobby Kester to put the Longhorns at the Yerington 10-yard line. Naveran then connected with Reese Artz for the Longhorn touchdown, bringing the score to 13-0 after the failed two-point conversion.
Yerington kept the game close with a 52-yard touchdown run by Valdez putting Yerington on the board with the score at 13-6. The Longhorns were able to respond with another long drive, ending with a touchdown pass from Naveran to Kester from 10 yards out. After a fumble recovery on the following Yerington drive, Battle Mountain scored again with a 12-yard touchdown pass to Artz. That gave the Longhorns a 27-6 lead at halftime.
Battle Mountain’s opening drive of the third quarter ended with another touchdown pass to Kester from five yards out and extended the lead to 34-6.
After two drives ended in punts, Mason Fuller intercepted the Lions quarterback. The Longhorns scored again with another Artz touchdown reception, his third of the game. At the end of the third quarter, the Longhorns led the Lions 41-6.
Yerington was able to score one last time near the end of the fourth quarter after a 24-yard touchdown run by Cade Draper brought the final score to 41-13.
The Longhorns advance to play Needles High School, the southern 2A top seed, on Saturday in Needles, Calif., at 1 p.m.
Both teams score a lot of points and have held their opponents down with strong defense. The teams will play for a chance to go to the 2A state title game on Saturday, Nov. 18.
“They’re a good football team,” Domagala said. “The Mustangs have some good size, speed and play solid position football. We’ll have to be focused on our assignments and need to make sure we execute our game plan to advance to the state finals.”