ELKO — What is needed to stop a three-game losing streak?
Heart, determination, execution and home cooking never hurts.
On senior night and the Elko football team’s homecoming, the Indians made plays when they had to and took down No. 2 Lowry by a final score of 32-21.
A week after getting blitzed on the first play from scrimmage in a 49-0 road loss at Fallon, the Indians broke off to a fast start against the Buckaroos Friday night.
Elko gave the homecoming crowd a little razzle-dazzle, running a double-reverse and throw down the field.
Senior Derek Peters launched a 20-yard pass to junior quarterback-turned-receiver Jake Zeller.
Senior Rolando Acosta rushed for nine yards, junior Kaiden Cervantes moving the rock for a first down to the Lowry 19.
A short run and an incomplete pass set up 3rd-and-9, Zeller buying time on play-action and hooking up with Acosta in a crowd.
Zeller punched up the middle for a short touchdown run with 9:20 on the clock, the extra point missed as Elko led 6-0.
On Lowry’s first possession, disaster struck for the Bucks — senior Nick Kinder and Acosta applying high heat in the backfield.
An ill-advised pass landed in the arms of senior lineman Max Shurtz, who rumbled 14 yards for a pick-six TD.
The two-point conversion was dropped short, Elko taking a 12-0 lead with 8:28 on the clock.
The Bucks shot themselves in the foot once again on their second possession, advancing to Elko territory but coughing up the football.
Elko senior Cameron Marvel jumped on the ball at the Indians’ 35.
However, the Indians went three-and-out — punting the Lowry 40.
Junior running back Anthony Peterson picked up a first down on 3rd-and-short, senior Preston Snow moving the sticks with a catch at the Elko 37.
Senior quarterback Chance Huitt marched the ball with his legs to the 26, but Elko’s defense forced 4th-and-4 from the 22.
Lowry went deep.
Huitt dropped a ball in the bucket, Peterson snagging an open catch for a touchdown.
Acosta blocked the extra point, Elko leading 12-6.
Elko moved the ball to near midfield with runs by senior Nick Kinder and Marvel, but the Indians faked their punt and were dropped short at midfield.
Holding penalties killed Lowry’s next drive, punting to the Elko 16.
The Indians moved down the field, Zeller throwing to Cervantes for a 15-yard screen play.
Kinder picked up a first down at the 42, and Marvel caught a 15-yard swing pass to the Lowry 43.
However, a hold pushed the Indians back — punting short to the Lowry 30.
Huitt moved the chains with a run to the 41, but a fumbled pitch in the backfield forced a punt.
From their own 25, the Indians were sacked by junior Seth Whitted and punted the ball.
Lowry missed a wide-open receiver for a sure-fire touchdown to open the third quarter, and a strip-sack by Peters was recovered by Legrand.
At the break, Elko led by six at 12-6.
The lead was short-lived.
The Bucks went 61 yards on their opening drive of the third quarter.
Snow rushed for nine yards to the 48, Peterson marching for a first down at the Elko 46.
Lowry punished the middle and reached the Elko 14, the 61-yard drive capped by a 14-yard touchdown from Huitt to Peterson in the back-left corner of the end zone — Mentaberry adding the PAT.
With 7:38 remaining in the third, Lowry led 14-12.
From their own 42, the Indians responded with a 58-yard drive — going Kinder-heavy.
He moved the chains twice on the ground, the drive nearing paydirt with a 12-yard tote from Cervantes to the Lowry 4.
Elko scored on a toss-left to Acosta, but the two-point conversion was no good.
With 4:20 on the clock, Elko led 18-14.
The back-and-forth rolled on.
Lowry went 59 yards in three plays, Peterson accounting for 53 on one play — making a circus adjustment on an underthrown deep ball.
Peterson hit the ground running after the catch for a touchdown.
The extra point was true, the Bucks grabbing a 21-18 lead with 2:38 remaining in the third.
Take a punch, give one back.
The Indians marched 58 yards in 10 plays.
Cervantes got things rolling with a first down at the Lowry 38, moving the chains again.
Kinder rushed to the Lowry 10 and once again to the 2, Zeller punching home for his second TD.
His extra point opened a 25-21 lead.
Lowry would not score again.
On the Bucks’ next drive, Shurtz made his second takeaway of the contest — adding a fumble recovery to his pick-six.
However, the Indians turned the ball over with a fumble as well, senior Domonic Vanosdall jumping on the pigskin for Lowry.
The Bucks reached the Elko 47 with a pump fake and run by Huitt, and senior Jordan Parker snagged a ball just above the grass off a deflection at the Indians’ 19.
However, a sill personal foul set up 4th-and-31 from the 40.
Acosta broke through line and made a huge 15-yard sack.
With 3:12 on the clock, Elko needed to eat time or score — doing both.
On 4th-and-3 from the Lowry 38, Marvel broke free around the right edge and dashed home for the clincher.
Elko stopped a three-game skid with a gritty 32-21 victory.
The Indians will play earlier than usual, facing the Spartans at 7 p.m. Thursday, in Spring Creek, closing out the regular season.
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