BATTLE MOUNTAIN – One local team took care of business Saturday at the second annual Battle Born Football Classic on the turf of Tim Knight Field in Battle Mountain, remember the Titans.
The Spring Creek team, joined by three Elko players, took home the championship of the junior division, defeating the Winnemucca Buckaroos by a final score of 21-12.
The Titans kicked off to start the game, immediately stopping Winnemucca’s drive.
Spring Creek advanced the ball downfield with first-down carries by Travis Monett Jr. and Fernando Acosta.
From the Winnemucca 26-yard line, Monett took a handoff down the left sideline and made a nasty cutback to his right, reversing field and scoring at the opposite pylon.
On the conversion, Acosta was met by Winnemucca defenders in the middle of the field at the 2 but kept his legs churning – driving would-be tacklers back into the end zone.
The conversion only counted for one point in the junior division.
Spring Creek took a 7-0 lead with six minutes remaining in the first quarter.
Winnemucca’s ensuing drive was shut down by great line play from the Titans, primarily stemming from the pressure up the middle by Colin Banning and Dutch Farnsworth.
Facing 4th-and-18 from their own 42, the Buckaroos turned the ball over.
Banning and Hunter Stoeberl came up with big hits and jarred the ball loose.
Winnemucca jumped on the recovery but turned the ball over on downs early in the second period.
The Buckaroos tightened up their run defense and forced a turnover on downs as well, taking over on their own 35 with 10 minutes remaining in the first half.
On second down, Spring Creek’s Taiten Mogensen came up with a sack and set up 3rd-and-11.
Farnsworth blew through the Winnemucca line and hammered the rusher, dislodging the football.
Peyton Taylor recovered the fumble and gave the Titans possession at the Winnemucca 24 with 6:07 on the clock.
Following an offensive penalty, quarterback Ethan Kraintz threw a passed that was tipped at the line but careened far enough down the right sideline to find a wide-open Monett, who raced in untouched for a his second touchdown with 5:08 remaining in the first half.
Acosta received the ball on an end-around from the right edge, easily outrunning the defense to the left side for the conversion.
With 4:15 on the clock, Spring Creek led 14-0.
Stoeberl and Farnsworth stuffed a short run to start Winnemucca’s drive, followed by a gang tackle on a pass to the right side by Dom Piazza, Bodey Ratliff and Jaxon Tomera.
On third down, Farnsworth came from the inside linebacker spot and made a strong stop, and Austin Chapman crashed through for a sack on fourth down – ending the Buckaroos’ hopes of posting points in the first half.
Facing 3rd-and-15 from the Winnemucca 42 with less than 30 seconds on the clock, Kraintz connected with Acosta on a post pattern to inside the Buckaroos’ 10.
The Titans were unable to score before the halftime horn but held a 14-0 lead at the break.
Spring Creek started with the ball in the third quarter, but the Buckaroos came out pumped up.
The Buckaroos stymied the Titans and Luke Fentress made a tackle for a big loss on third down, setting up a 4th-and-22 from the Spring Creek 36.
The punt was a short one, bouncing around for a few seconds before a Winnemucca player made the unwise decision to try to pick up the ball on the bounce in traffic.
The pigskin was not handled cleanly and squirted free, Farnsworth cleaning up the mess at the Winnemucca 38.
He took the carry to start Spring Creek’s drive, followed by a pitch and catch to Jacob Gochnour on a bubble screen.
Spring Creek’s next pass fell incomplete, the Titans facing 4th-and-6 from the Buckaroos’ 34.
When in doubt, go down the seam.
Kraintz fired a pass to Gage Anderson at the 24, and he rumbled to the Winnemucca 13.
Acosta carried the ball and nearly scored before being dropped inside the 2, but Spring Creek was called for a personal foul and backed up to the 31.
On second down, Acosta moved the Titans back to where they should have been – spinning out of a tackle and reaching the Winnemucca 5.
On 3rd-and-2, Acosta had an opening but Jeff Harber made a touchdown-saving hit at the 1.
The carry was good enough for a first down, and the Titans went back to their bruiser.
Spring Creek gave Acosta the ball on a dive, shoving across the goal line for a touchdown.
He also added the conversion on the same type of play, power football up the middle.
The Titans opened a 21-0 lead with 2:35 remaining in the third period.
Following the quarter change, Winnemucca quarterback Christopher Gildone threw a pass to Jacob Woolsey for a big first down at the Winnemucca 34.
Gildone’s next pass was nearly picked off, but the ball made its way through the hands of Spring Creek’s defensive back.
Matthew Casalez came away with the 50-50 ball and ran to the Spring Creek 49.
Gildone picked up a first down with his legs, and Winnemucca moved the sticks once again to the Spring Creek 15.
Harber took a carry off-tackle to the left and broke several tackles, dragging a defender and diving in for the Buckaroo’s first score from 11 yards with 6:23 remaining in the game.
Winnemucca forced a 3rd-and-10 for the Titans following a tackle for a loss by Bubba Hornbarger, the Buckaroos stopping the Titans for a two-yard negative on the next play.
On fourth down, the snap got away and Winnemucca took over on downs at the Spring Creek 21 with 1:03 remaining.
Anthony Guzman made consecutive catches for the Buckaroos, trying to pull a Boise State hook-and-lateral on the second grab – but Acosta dumped the recipient in the backfield at the 27.
On the final play of the ballgame, Gildone got around the right-side contain of the Titans’ defense and chewed up yards down the sideline – 20, 10, touchdown.
He made a flying leap to pull the Buckaroos to within nine with no time on the clock.
Spring Creek won the junior division championship over Winnemucca by a final score of 21-12.
The Lovelock Mustangs beat the Battle Mountain Shorthorns 19-0 in the championship game.
The seniors division championship proved to the tightest, most competitive game throughout.
Winnemucca came from behind and defeated Battle Mountain 22-16 in a physical contest.