WINNEMUCCA – Following a rough two-game losing streak and nine and a half quarters of scoreless football – a stretch the Elko football team was outscored 44-0 – the Indians got crooked Friday.
At Lowry, Elko scored seven touchdowns and picked off three passes on defense, rolling to a 42-13 victory over the Buckaroos.
Elko kicked off deep, the Buckaroos starting their first drive short of the 20.
Lowry’s first play from scrimmage resulted in a six-yard rush by junior Cole Jones, but senior quarterback Brendan Domire was dropped for a big loss on third down by Elko junior safety Cooper Jones.
He fielded the punt and returned to the Lowry 41.
Senior Christian Quintana cut back on a carry for nine yards on the Indians’ first play from scrimmage, a toss to Jones going the distance from 32 yards – reversing to the middle – two plays, drought busted.
Elko took a 7-0 lead on the extra point by junior Colby Tiner with 9:29 remaining in the first quarter.
Tiner’s second kick went farther than the first, going into the end zone for a touchback.
The Bucks were swarmed under and Elko forced a three-and-out.
Junior Chance Huitt’s punt took a favorable bounce and rolled to the Elko 33.
Tiner picked up a first down in two carries to the Lowry 43.
On 3rd-and-6 from the 47, senior quarterback Carter Alvarado rolled out of the pocket and unleashed a heave down the field – Quintana tapping his toes along the boundary for a 41-yard connection to the Lowry 22.
Jones gave the Indians a first down on a counter for 11 yards to the Lowry 11.
Tiner took a pitch to the left and broke some arm tackles on his way to a 14-yard touchdown.
Elko took a 13-0 lead with 5:14 remaining in the first, but the PAT was slow to develop and was blocked by Domire.
Huitt gave Lowry great field position with a return to the 43-yard line on the kickoff.
Domire spun out of several tackles and carried to the Elko 42.
He threw a slant to senior Dorsey Naveran for 13 yards to the Indians’ 29.
The progress was instantly nullified.
Elko applied pressure and smashed Domire as he launched a pass to the end zone, Jones picking the ball off for a touchback.
Tiner picked up a big conversion on 3rd-and-6 with a 15-yard carry to the 39-yard line.
The possession came to a close, but the Indians flipped the field – the punt by Tiner traveling 48 yards, Quintana downing the ball at the Lowry 8.
The Bucks found a little breathing room with a first-down rush of 10 yards by Jones on the final play of the first quarter.
However, Elko’s second interception of the night and 23rd takeaway of the season was snagged by senior Landon Dente at the 25-yard line – the Indians placed at the Lowry 12 following a spearing penalty.
Jones cut against the grain and tore up nine yards to the Bucks’ 3, dropping his shoulder and pounding across the goal line for his second touchdown.
Lining up for a two-point conversion, Tiner dove in for a 21-0 lead with 10:19 remaining in the half.
His kickoff went for another touchback, but the Indians were called for a procedure penalty – the five-yard miscue causing the second boot to land at the 5.
Junior Jace Mentaberry returned the ball across the 30, and Jones moved the sticks with a run to the 43.
Elko junior Rolando Acosta dropped Mentaberry in the backfield for a two-yard loss on second down.
Domire called his own number on a keeper and fumbled after a one-yard gain, but the Bucks jumped on the football.
Quintana gave the Indians a first down at the Elko 45 with a 13-yard run on 3rd-and-5.
Elko’s timing was way off on an incomplete third-down pass, and the Indians were forced to punt.
The kick only traveled 22 yards and took a seven-yard Lowry bounce to the Bucks 37.
Mentaberry broke outside for a seven-yard carry on 3rd-and-6, but a 3rd-and-9 carry was thwarted by senior Carl Hansen – forcing a punt.
Elko took a 21-0 lead into the locker room.
Thanks to a 15-yard penalty issued to Lowry for their homecoming activities at halftime, the Bucks kicked off from their own 25.
Elko took over on Lowry’s side of midfield at the 41.
Quintana swam through players for seven yards to the 34, Tiner rushing for a first down to the 30.
Some wiggle room for Quintana moved the rock to the 24, a counter to Tiner moving the chains to the Lowry 16.
Lowry stiffened, forcing a 30-field goal attempt – the kick sailing wide-right – the Indians wasting a golden chance for points.
The Bucks took over on their own 20, and a dive to junior Preston Snow nearly resulted in a touchdown – Jones making a saving tackle after a 23-yard carry to the 47.
A third-down pass by Domire was deflected by senior defensive end Ronin Rowley, the ball nearly intercepted by junior Max Shurtz.
Lowry’s punt went out of bounds at the Elko 32.
The Indians went three-and-out and Tiner punted to the Lowry 29.
Seniors Chris Meza and Luis Garcia combined for a tackle in the backfield, but Naveran moved the chains with a first-down catch.
Mentaberry broke free for a huge gain to the Elko 26, Dente saving the touchdown.
Snow set up the Bucks at the 16-yard line with a 10-yard tote off the left guard, and Domire kept the football on a run up the gut for a touchdown.
The kick was blocked by Jones with great speed around the left edge.
Lowry’s first points brought the score to 21-6 with 2:16 remaining in the third quarter.
Tiner took a short kick and returned to 43-yard line, Jones taking a toss to midfield.
Quintana answered Lowry’s score with a score, making men miss once he broke the line of scrimmage – 50 yards to the house.
Tiner’s PAT gave the Indians a 28-6 lead with 1:55 on the clock.
Hansen tackled Domire for a seven-yard loss to start the fourth quarter, setting up a 3rd-and-17 from the Lowry 45.
Dente came down with his second pick of the night and Elko’s third of the game, but the Indians were called for a penalty on the return – canceling a runback to inside the Lowry 10.
Elko began the possession at its own 40, a false start pushing the Indians back to the 35.
Jones gained back nine of the 15 yards needed for first down, Elko making another big play on third down.
Alvarado dropped the ball in the bucket, a deep pass over the shoulder to Jones reeled in at the 25-yard line – outracing the defense for a 55-yard TD.
The PAT pushed the lead to 35-6 with 10:11 remaining in the game.
Snow ran for 11 yards and carried across midfield, picking up another first down to the Elko 31 – dashing 30 yards on his next carry to the Indians’ 1.
He fittingly capped the drive – a one-man wrecking crew – scoring on a one-yard TD.
The PAT pulled Lowry to within 35-13 at the 7:41 mark.
From the Elko 40, Tiner picked up 15 yards and kept the kept clock rolling – rushing for seven more yards to the Lowry 38.
Jones bulled his way to the 30 for a fresh set of downs, Elko senior split end Ethan Johnson making his first catch of the season for a nine-yard gain.
On 3rd-and-1 from the Lowry 21, Tiner gained a pancake block from sophomore Ernie Gregory – paving the way for a first down at the 17.
Tiner ran determined – flattening his own player for six yards to the 10 – Hansen taking a rare pitch to the 6.
Tiner dove over the pile to the Lowry 4 for a first down, punching across on 2nd-and-goal for his second TD.
With 2:01 on the clock, his PAT tacked on the final tally.
Elko ended a two-game slide with a 42-13 victory, the Indians improving to 6-2 on the season – dropping the Bucks to an even 4-4 in league play of the Division 3A North.
The Indians racked up 286 rushing yards on 46 carries, scoring five TDs on the ground.
Tiner led the attack with 98 yards on 20 attempts with two TDs, Quintana picking up 90 yards on nine totes – including a 50-yard touchdown – and Jones rushed for two TDs on 89 yards from 14 totes.
Jones scored his third touchdown of the night on a 55-yard bomb from Alvarado, who finished 3-for-7 for 97 yards with a TD and no turnovers.
Defensively, two of Elko’s three takeaways wound up in the hands of Dente on picks – Jones adding the other interception.
He rounded out an incredible contest with a blocked PAT.
Hansen led the Indians with 11 tackles (nine solo), followed by eight stops from Jones.
The Indians moved into sole possession of third place in the league standings, needing a victory to maintain the position in their final game of the regular season.
Elko will close out against Spring Creek (5-3) at 7 p.m. Friday, at Warrior Field.
If the Indians win, they will face a rematch against Lowry – in Elko – likely sending Spring Creek to Fernley (5-3) if the Vaqueros beat winless Dayton.
If the Spartans win, it would probably create a three-way tie with Elko and Fernley – the final score of Friday’s matchup between the Indians and Spring Creek playing a factor in the determination of playoff seeding.