ELKO — One game in with a new roster, the Elko football team has to feel fairly good about itself.
The Indians kicked off the 2019 season at home Friday night – hosting South Tahoe – and Elko did not show much mercy for the Vikings in the season opener.
Elko was dominant from the onset, never trailing in the contest — opening a 7-0 advantage in the first quarter and extending to a 20-0 halftime lead — pulling away for a 36-12 victory.
The Indians controlled the line of scrimmage and ruled the number of offensive plays, snapping the rock 71 times and limiting the Vikings to 47 offensive plays.
With 20 first downs, Elko moved the chains nearly three times more than South Tahoe — the Indians’ defense allowing only seven first downs in the contest.
Elko needed to throw the ball just 10 times, junior Jake Zeller completing 5-of-9 passes for 65 yards with a touchdown and no interceptions — junior Lincoln Ratliff completing his only attempt for 19 yards.
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On the ground, the Indians were remarkably efficient.
As a team, Elko carried the ball 61 times for 401 yards — averaging 6.6 yards per tote — punching in four rushing TDs, one each by four ball carriers.
Leading the way with a monster night was senior Cameron Marvel, who racked up 213 yards rushing on 14 carries with a touchdown.
Zeller also notched 14 carries, picking up 62 yards and punching one attempt to paydirt.
Junior Kaiden Cervantes topped the roster with 15 carries, finishing with 53 yards rushing and a score.
Elko’s other rushing TD came from the legs of senior Rolando Acosta, who carried six times for 34 yards.
Ratliff packed the ball eight times for 31 yards.
In the passing game, Elko had two players notch multiple receptions — senior Corbin Notestine snagging two balls for 32 yards with a touchdown and Cervantes catching two passes for 17 yards.
Acosta made a 22-yard reception and Ratliff’s lone grab went for 13 yards.
Defensively, senior Nick Kinder flew to the football — leading the Indians with 12 tackles.
Acosta closed with five stops, and Marvel made a sack — three Indians (senior Derek Peters, Acosta and senior Max Shurtz) tallying a half-sack apiece.
Marvel and Ratliff each finished with four tackles.
In the kicking game, Zeller made 3-for-5 extra points and nailed a 30-yard field goal.
He averaged 39 yards per punt on two boots with a long of 45, placing each punt inside South Tahoe’s 20-yard line.
Ratliff totaled 195 yards on four kickoffs.
In the return game, junior Brayden Barnhurst broke a 30-yard gain on his only chance.
After a 1-0 start to the season and league play of the Division 3A North, Elko will take on a non-conference opponent from outside the country.
The Indians will host Lethbridge Collegiate Institute (Alberta, Canada) at 6 p.m. Saturday, at Warrior Field.