It’s just four weeks into the season, but there might be something special happening with the 2019 version of the Lowry High School football team.
The Buckaroos improved to 4-0 on the season and 3-0 in the Northern 3A with a 34-28 victory over Fernley on Friday night in Winnemucca. It was Lowry’s first win over Fernley since the 2013 season.
“This team's tenacity is unreal right now,” said LHS coach Taua Cabatbat. “Their run game was killing us at the beginning and we made some adjustments. That’s a tough team right there. It feels good to finally beat those guys.”
After Lowry forced Fernley to punt on its first drive in three plays, the offenses went into full gear from there. The Buckaroos used up just a little over five minutes to score on their opening possession.
A catch by Caden Ricci and run by Anthony Peterson moved Lowry into Fernley territory and the Buckaroos eventually scored on a 9-yard pass from Chance Huitt to Jordan Parker on third down and seven.
Fernley got its offense going moments later and drove 66 yards in just over three minutes, with Anthony Thompson scoring on a 3-yard run to tie the game at 7-7, with 59 seconds left in the first quarter.
Following a long kickoff return by Jace Mentaberry, Peterson took over on the next drive and Lowry scored after two of his runs, the last on a 24-yard run to cap a 2-play, 26-yard drive in 41 seconds.
The back-and-forth scoring continued into the early minutes of the second quarter, as Fernley drove 66 yards in just over two minutes to tie the contest at 14, after a 5-yard run by Brandon Reyes.
Aided by a 21-yard screen play to Ricci on fourth down midway through the second quarter, Lowry capped its 65-yard drive and scored on a 5-yard run by Huitt to lead 20-14 with 4:16 left in the first half. That proved to be the final points of the first half.
After forcing Lowry to punt on its initial possession of the third quarter, Fernley answered quickly in 73 seconds when Jones scored on a 43-yard run two plays later, giving the Vaqueros their first lead of the night at 21-20.
Lowry quickly bounced back, using two runs by Huitt and a pass interference penalty on Fernley to retake the lead 27-21. The drive ended with 2:33 left in the third quarter on a 1-yard run by Huitt.
The momentum swung Lowry’s way moments later, as Jace Mentaberry ran a blocked punt back for a touchdown from 49-yards out to move the Buckaroos in front 34-21 with 11:30 to play.
Fernley shook off the miscue and trimmed the Lowry margin to 34-28 with 8:29 to play on a 23-yard run by Miles Steele.
The Buckaroos played keep away from there, holding the ball for nearly seven minutes. However, the Buckaroos’ 68-yard drive was stopped at the 1-yard line with just over a minute to play.
The Vaqueros needed to drive 99 yards with no timeouts to win the game, but the drive came to a quick end with an interception by Tyler Neu, which secured the win for the Buckaroos.
“That last drive was big for us,” Cabatbat said. “Of course, we wanted to score and put the game away. Time management was key for us and we took the time off the clock. Tyler came up big and that pick came in our favor. Our kids are tested and play well and we have someone step up for us every week.”
Huitt was 4-of-8 passing for 42 yards and touchdown, to go with 59 yards rushing and two touchdowns.
Peterson was the workhorse for Lowry on the ground, carrying the ball 29 times for 187 yards.
Lowry and Churchill County (Fallon) lead the league at 3-0, while Elko is 2-0. Lowry travels to Truckee on Friday night for a 7 p.m. kickoff. The Wolverines are 1-2 in league play.
“It will be crazy environment going up there,” said the coach. “It’s the next game on our schedule and we have to be ready to play.”
Spring Creek 1-2
South Tahoe 1-2
North Valleys 0-2
* Top six teams in final regular season advances to playoffs. Top two teams earn first-round byes.