Winnemucca to host NIAA 2A State Football Championship on Saturday

Winnemucca to host NIAA 2A State Football Championship on Saturday

Winnemucca to host NIAA 2A State Football Championship on Saturday

Two of the biggest rivals in the state of Nevada will face each other on Saturday in Winnemucca, with the NIAA 2A State Football Championship on the line at Lowry High School.

Pershing County held off a late rally by Lincoln County to win 37-20 last weekend in the state semifinals. Battle Mountain, erased a 14-point deficit at halftime, and came back to beat Needles, Calif., 36-30 in overtime.

Pershing County is no stranger to the state championship game, winning four 2A titles since 2010, including last year. The Mustangs defeated Yerington to win their eighth state championship.

Battle Mountain is looking for its first state championship since 1986, when they defeated Virgin Valley 21-0 for the 1A title. The Longhorns earned a bit of revenge after losing to Virgin Valley in the 1985 championship game.

The Longhorns have had their chances to win other state titles since but came up short.

Battle Mountain lost to Pershing County 24-6 in the 2004 championship game and the Longhorns were knocked off by The Meadows in the 2009 title contest in Reno 27-24. This is the first time Battle Mountain has played in the championship game since.

Pershing County comes into the contest 10-1, with its only loss to Bear River, Calif., in the second game of the year on Sept. 8. Bear River is still playing in the CIF Sac-Joaquin Football playoffs.

The Mustangs allowed 29 points in six Northern 2A games, with 15 of them coming from Battle Mountain. Battle Mountain led Pershing County 15-9 during the regular season, only to see the Mustangs score a touchdown in the fourth quarter to win 16-15.

Pershing County shut out three league opponents in White Pine, Silver Stage and North Tahoe. The Mustangs allowed six points to Yerington and eight to West Wendover.

Pershing County features a run-first style of offense with a big offensive line. The Mustangs have rushed for 2,990 yards this season. Junior Jayce Leyva leads the attack with 1,334 yards on 172 carries and 22 touchdowns.

Lane Condie (493 yards) and Juaquin Wanner (327) have a combined 11 touchdown catches.

Pershing County has thrown the ball just 61 times this year, with Derek Sandusky passing for 515 yards and five touchdowns and five interceptions.

Condie and Owen Bake are the leading receivers.

Battle Mountain is 10-2 on the season and has outscored its opponents 436-117. The Longhorns lone non-conference loss was to American Falls 14-0, in Idaho.

In Northern 2A play, Battle Mountain blanked Silver Stage and West Wendover and held Yerington to two points off a safety. Minus the loss to Pershing County, Battle Mountain was not challenged in league play this fall.

Battle Mountain is dangerous with the pass and the running game. Senior quarterback Gabe Naveran has thrown for 1,895 yards and 27 touchdowns this fall.

He is also the leading rusher for the Longhorns with 595 yards on 107 carries and 14 touchdowns.

Reese Artz, Mason Fuller and Bobby Kester are his favorite targets at wide receiver.

Artz has 10 touchdowns and 565 yards receiving, while Kester has seven touchdowns and 420 yards. Fuller has caught 21 passes for 467 yards and four touchdowns.

Battle Mountain has also rushed for 1,948 yards on the ground. Cody Ostler (465), Jesus Peidra (377) and Peyton Ayers (280) adds to the running game.

Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. at Lowry High School.