ELKO – Hoping to end a four-game skid and avoid a five-game losing streak, Elko coach Luke Sellers said the Indians can only do a few things.
“We can’t worry about the playoffs, we have to stay together and we can only focus on ourselves,” Sellers said. “We have to play hard and execute.”
Elko fell for the fourth-consecutive time last week in a 32-14 ballgame against the Greenwave in Fallon.
The Indians will play at home Friday, welcoming the Lowry Buckaroos to Warrior Field.
Lowry (1-5) has found its fair share of struggles throughout the season, moving into the win column for the first time of the season last week with a 42-6 victory over winless Dayton in Winnemucca.
The Buckaroos nearly notched their first win on Sept. 22 but lost a close, 9-6 contest at home to Wooster.
The primary weapons for the Buckaroos on the ground have been senior Victor Rosas and freshman Anthony Peterson.
Rosas has tallied a team-best four rushing TDs, running for 361 yards on 51 carries.
Peterson has mounted a team-high 373 rushing yards on 55 carries, punching in three scores.
Senior Matthew Souza leads the Buckaroos with 201 yards receiving on 12 catches, tying Peterson for the team high with two touchdown grabs.
Peterson has caught seven balls for 102 yards.
Junior quarterback Brendan Domire has thrown six touchdowns and four interceptions, completing 43 of 94 passes for 551 yards.
Domire has shown the ability to run the football, rushing for 267 yards and a touchdown on 47 carries.
“Lowry is similar to us in the fact they don’t have a lot of touchdowns, so there isn’t a lot of tape on them in the red zone,” Sellers said. “We need to have everything ready to go. We have had players in the right spots defensively but we haven’t always been able to make the plays against some of the best athletes.”
Against Fallon, the Indians were not able to make plays against junior quarterback Sean McCormick.
McCormick finished 10-for-12 passing for 177 yards and a 66-yard touchdown to sophomore Brock Richardson.
When the Elko coverage took away the throws downfield, the Indians did not keep McCormick’s legs in check.
He ran for 208 yards on 17 carries, scoring three rushing touchdowns.
“I thought our defense did a good job of covering a lot of the plays, but when he broke the pocket he hurt us bad with his running ability,” Sellers said.
Elko led the battle of time of possession by three and a half minutes and found four more offensive plays than Fallon, but the Indians’ Achilles heel all season has been the lack of big plays on the offensive side of the ball.
Nearly all of the Indians’ 172 yards of offense came from senior running back Gavin Byington, who rushed for 155 yards on 28 carries, which included a 42-yard touchdown for one of his two scores – Byington tallying both of Elko’s TDs.
The Indians will once again be without senior and No. 1 quarterback Ryan Wickersham, who will miss his third-consecutive game due to a concussion he suffered on Sept. 22 in Fernley.
“Lowry is not going to be scared of us. I’m sure they feel they should have two wins and be tied with us. We are evenly-matched teams. I think both coaching staffs feel this is a winnable game,” Sellers said. “We can’t just show up and expect a win. I hope we learned that from the Sparks game. We have to be successful one game at a time and see where everything out shakes out later. The team that blocks, tackles and executes will win the game.”
The Indians will play their second-to-last home game of the year, taking on Lowry at 7 p.m. Friday at Warrior Field.
Elko will play its final home contest of the season at 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 20 against South Tahoe.