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Elko football is back, but playing on the road

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ELKO — The Elko football team — after a 16-month absence — is finally ready to strap up the helmets, pad and cleats.

After the lengthy pause caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the Indians will play their first contest since November of 2019.

At 3 p.m. Saturday, Elko will open the 2020-21 season on the road against Lowry, in Winnemucca.

“I don’t know if we’re ready, but we’re about to find out,” said Elko coach Luke Sellers. “We got our jerseys, put on the pants and took our pictures. We need to see if we can get lined up correctly, and we’ll see what happens.”

On Wednesday, Elko did its part — testing more than 90 players and more than a dozen coaches for COVID-19.

“I think the ambulance crew did the tests. We did them at the Old Gym,” he said. “It was a rapid test where they did the poke-your-brain deal through the nostril. Those guys did a good job. We had about 110 tests total, and they all came back negative.”

Sellers said that preparation for Elko’s first game has been challenging, given the time restraints of when the season was actually approved.

“We have to run to condition, but you don’t want to run them enough to kill them,” he said. “We will do everything by committee for a while.”

As for Elko’s opponent, the last time the two squared off — the Indians played a solid ballgame for a 32-21 victory over Lowry on Oct. 18, 2019, in the Indians’ homecoming.

Looking forward to the upcoming matchup, Sellers knows his team will have to stop running back Anthony Peterson.

“He’s a great athlete, football player and wrestler. He’s really fast,” Sellers said. “He signed to play running back at Eastern Oregon (University).”

Sellers said he thinks senior Caden Ricci will play at quarterback for the Buckaroos, who “have a couple good guys on the O-line and D-Line.”

“I think it was No. 69 (Shane Mattson); he’s a good lineman,” Sellers said. “They’re just like us though. They never started practicing until the last 10 days or two weeks.”

Sellers said this season — more than ever — is not necessarily about the wins and losses.

“I’m just glad the kids get to play. They’re excited, I’ve missed it. It’s about the seniors getting the chance to wrap up their high school careers in their last year and the younger kids getting better,” he said. “It’s about Coach Heard getting to watch his son (David) as a senior. We’re going to have some fun, try to win games and we’re thankful we get to play football.”

Game Time

Elko’s season will get underway with a 3 p.m. kickoff Saturday against Lowry, in Winnemucca.

Follow The Action

The contest will be livestreamed at nfhsnetwork.com and audio is available online at network1sports.com or on the radio at 95.9 FM and 1240 AM.

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