Each opposing team ran onto the field fresh from recent wins. Just days before, Yerington crushed Silver Stage 44-2 and the Pershing County High School football team nailed North Tahoe 58-0.
But only one team would walk away from the Lions’ den with another league victory.
“We needed the win to get first seed and the conference championship,” said Pershing quarterback Derek Sandusky. “So, we played with a chip on our shoulders the whole time. We went out there and put on a show.”
Pershing County defeated Yerington 42-6 on the road this past Friday night to win the regular season title in the Northern 2A and take the No. 1 seed into the postseason.
With the win, Pershing County improved to 7-1 overall, and 5-0 in league play.
Dave McLean coaches the varsity squad.
“We played well from the beginning,” he said.
The Mustangs stopped Yerington on their first drive by forcing them to punt. Then, despite a couple early penalties, Pershing scored on their opening drive.
“After that, we never looked back,” said McLean.
Pershing County led Yerington 29-0 at the half. Martin Cholico, Lane Condie, Joaquin Wanner, Emilio Gomez and Davis Murphy led the Mustang defense. They held the Lions down until the final minutes of the fourth quarter.
With two minutes left on the clock, Yerington’s Jesus Valdez scored a 5-yard rushing touchdown. Otherwise, Pershing County owned the game.
Offensively, Axel Gonzalez and Jorge Rosas cleared a path for Jayce Leyva and Sandusky.
Leyva ran for 168 yards on 16 carries and punched in four touchdowns. His second-quarter 55-yard dash to the end zone stunned the crowd.
Sandusky was 6-6 passing for 110 yards.
“As coaches, we’re proud of all the kids,” said McLean. “The effort they’ve put in every day is awesome.”
The Mustangs race toward the postseason on a seven-game winning streak. As conference champions, they hold the top spot in the 2A Northern League. Battle Mountain (4-1), Yerington (4-2) and West Wendover (3-2) follow.
“We’re feeling good going into post-season,” said Sandusky. “We’ve improved a lot. I think we could do something special this year. We had a good team win against Yerington. Now, onto the next game.”
According to Mike Brooks, the Pershing County JV squad got off to a slow start this past Friday afternoon. But once they got going it was full speed ahead. They beat the Lions 44-9.
“After the first quarter we probably played our best football of the season,” said Brooks.
At halftime, Pershing County led 22-3. They rode the lead all the way to victory.
Juan Jimenez caught three touchdown passes from Ricky Reitz. Cody Zile carried the ball well, backed by blocking from the line and running backs.
Raul Rincón played his best game of the season offensively, said the coach.
“Our defensive line was able to control the line, helping us secure the win,” said Brooks.
The Mustangs travel to West Wendover on Thursday to face the Wolverines. The JV begins their season-closing game at 4:30 p.m. For varsity, it’s just the beginning. West Wendover is their last game of the regular season. They play at 7 p.m.
Pershing County will host West Wendover on Friday, Nov. 3, at 6 p.m. in the opening round of the 2A playoffs. If the Mustangs win that game, they will host a school from the Southern 2A on Saturday, Nov. 11, at 1 p.m.
Pershing County hopes to go for the gold at the NIAA 2A State Championship on Saturday, Nov. 18. The contest is set to be played in northern Nevada at a site to be determined.