ELKO – After rolling to a 5-0 record to start the season, the Elko football team faced stiff competition the past two weeks – the results not ideal for Indian fans.
The Indians were blanked 31-0 on the road at Truckee and blasted 44-0 by Fallon on Elko’s homecoming last week, at Warrior Field.
Playing Friday night against Lowry (4-3 in league), Elko (5-2) needs to hit the reset button and regain a shot of life.
“We have to move the ball better and we have to score points. In Truckee, I thought we had chances to be effective and score some points but we didn’t execute very well,” said Elko coach Luke Sellers. “Last week, we would have like to have seen better execution, but we were just outmatched on both sides of the football.”
At Truckee, the Indians only accounted for 121 yards of total offense – throwing for 46 and rushing for 75.
The Wolverines, on the other hand, racked up 463 yards of offense with 269 rushing yards and 194 yards through the air, outgaining Elko by nearly quadruple.
The disparity grew even larger last week.
Against the Greenwave, the Indians barely eclipsed 70 yards of offense – finishing with 57 in the first half – posting only 14 yards in the second half of a running-clock ballgame.
Elko closed the contest with 38 yards passing and 33 rushing.
Fallon amassed 259 of its 428 yards of total offense in the first half, rushing for 340 yards as a team and throwing for 88 more, outgaining Elko by six times.
Senior and University of Idaho commit Sean McCormick almost exclusively followed the lead of senior left tackle and Boise State University signee Ben Dooley, McCormick finishing with 208 rushing yards on 21 carries with three touchdowns.
“It’s the next-game up mentality. There are no excuses for the last two games and no pouting, because nobody is going to feel sorry for us,” Sellers said. “We are going to have to get back to blocking, tackling and putting the football in the end zone.”
As far as putting the ball in the end zone, Elko has been unable to do in quite some time.
“I don’t think we have scored for eight or nine quarters,” Sellers said.
The Indians’ last points came on a 55-yard touchdown pass from senior Carter Alvarado to senior Cooper Jones at the 4:49 mark of the third quarter on Sept. 21, in Elko’s 42-19 home victory over Fernley.
Elko is hoping to post a large number points Friday night on the road against the Buckaroos and end what will be a three-week calendar drought of scoreless football.
“Lowry is a pretty good football team. Everything runs through their quarterback. As he goes, they go,” Sellers said. “They have a good offensive line, big receivers and their defense is scrappy.”
Since starting the season 1-3 in the Division 3A North, the Buckaroos are winners of their last-three contests – surging to a winning record in league play.
Lowry began the winning streak with a nip-and-tuck, 28-25 victory on the road at North Valleys, following with a 32-14 home win against South Tahoe, recently whacking the winless Dust Devils 53-6 last week in Dayton.
The Bucks are not afraid to run the football with senior quarterback Brendan Domire, who leads the team with 659 rushing yards on 100 carries, scoring 10 touchdowns with his legs.
He has also thrown nine touchdowns against four interceptions, passing for 667 yards.
Domire is not just a weapon on offense, he has also done major damage on defense and special teams – taking two of his team-best five interceptions back for touchdowns and housing a punt return as well.
Junior Jace Mentaberry has rushed for 359 yards on 64 carries – scoring once – and junior Preston Snow has 227 yards rushing on 41 attempts with two TDs.
Mentaberry has also been solid with foot, making all four of his field goals and successfully booting 23-of-26 of his point-after-attempts.
Domire’s favorite target in the passing game has been senior Dorsey Naveran, who provides a 6-foot-4 frame on the outside.
Naveran has snagged a team-high 23 balls for 277 yards and tops the roster with five TD catches.
Snow has caught four of his 12 receptions for touchdowns, totaling 167 yards receiving.
Senior Scottie Smith has two touchdown catches, posting nine receptions for 92 yards on the season.
On defense, the Bucks create havoc.
Senior linebacker Caleb Sanchez has already tallied 92 tackles and is tied with Smith for the team lead with two sacks apiece.
Naveran has posted 69 stops, forced a fumble and returned one to paydirt – junior Chance Huitt also taking a recovery back for six points.
Snow has made 55 tackles and forced a fumble.
As a unit, Lowry’s defense has 10 INTs to its credit and six fumble recoveries.
“We have to get off the bus. Lowry is a tough place to play. It doesn’t matter what kind of team they have or what year it is – and they’re good this year. You have to play well and do things right to win there,” Sellers said. “It’s going to come down to these last two weeks of the season, but we have to do it one game at a time and that starts Friday, at Lowry.”
The Indians (5-2) will look to end a two-game skid at 7 p.m. Friday against a much-improved Lowry (4-3 in league), in Winnemucca.