WINNEMUCCA — The Spring Creek football team has done a lot of good things through two games, but the Spartans’ mistakes and penalties have caused an 0-2 start to the season.
On the road Friday, a bad snap on an extra point, a couple fumbles and a bunch of untimely penalties led to a 21-20 loss to Lowry.
The Spartans opened the game with possession of the football and picked up a first down with a rush by senior Reed Westwood and another on a 12-yard pass from senior quarterback Jeff Guthrie to senior wide receiver Kyle Owsley to the Lowry 36, but the drive came crashing to a close with a fumble that was recovered by Buckaroos.
However, a turnover led to a takeaway.
On the first play of the Buckaroos’ drive, junior Chase Milligan picked off a pass and went 20 yards for a pick-six.
Junior Kyler Lulay’s extra point was dead-center and gave the Spartans a 7-0 lead with 8:45 on the clock.
Lowry shot itself in the foot once again on its next drive.
The Bucks gained first downs on a carry by junior running back Anthony Peterson and a catch by junior Trenton Domire from senior quarterback Chance Huitt.
From the Spring Creek 35, the Buckaroos picked up a first down to the Spring Creek 29 on 4th-and-1.
The Spartans forced their second takeaway, junior Q Boyd pouncing on a fumble.
Spring Creek was forced to punt, and Lowry turned its third possession into points after turning the ball over on consecutive drives.
The Buckaroos moved the ball on the ground across midfield with Peterson.
Huitt carried around the right edge to the Spring Creek 31, and Peterson went eight yards for the second time of the drive.
Spring Creek came up with a big sack, junior Jayce Esplin and Boyd moving the Bucks back to a 4th-and-15, ending the first quarter.
At the end of one, the Spartans led 7-0.
It took one play to tie the game.
Lowry left the offense on the field, and Huitt launched a deep pass to the end zone to senior Jace Mentaberry.
The PAT was good, knotting the score 7-7.
Spring Creek was forced to punt after going four-and-out on its next drive, Lowry taking over on its own 36 — Peterson running for a first down to near midfield.
Following a short gain and a run for five yards, an incomplete pass closed the drive.
Lowry kicked into the end zone for a touchback.
Guthrie broke a big run up the middle for the Spartans, but the drive was killed by a holding penalty.
The Spartans punted from deep in their own territory to the 45, but the defense stiffened and forced a kick.
Spring Creek moved the ball with a 10-yard tote by Westwood, and senior Matthew Writer broke a big run for 20 yards to midfield.
The Spartans marched back with consecutive penalties.
The backward yardage was made up for and then some by a 44-yard gash from Westwood, and the drive was completed by a 16-yard rushing TD from Writer.
Lulay’s extra point split the uprights for a 14-7 lead with 2:13 remaining in the half.
Spring Creek kicked short to the Lowry 46, Peterson running to midfield.
The big play was a 25-yard pass from Huitt to Mentaberry.
Peterson added another lengthy run to the Spring Creek 5, but the Spartans made multiple stops at or behind the line of scrimmage.
The Buckaroos kept the “O” on the field on 4th-and-4, Peterson finding the edge on a pitch-left for a touchdown.
The PAT tied the game with 21 seconds remaining.
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At the break, Spring Creek and Lowry were gridlocked 14-14.
Lowry was forced to punt on its opening drive, the rugby-style boot muffed and mishandled — the Buckaroos jumping on the loose pigskin at the Spring Creek 25.
Peterson carried three-consecutive times, breaking a 3rd-and-1 run for a big gain to the Spartans’ 3.
Lowry kept matters in his hands, Peterson punching home for a lead-changing TD.
The extra point was tacked on, giving the Bucks a 21-14 advantage with 6:56 remaining in the third.
Spring Creek made its answer.
Guthrie ran for seven or eight yards, and the Spartans benefited from a 15-yard facemask penalty to the Lowry 44.
After stalling out, Spring Creek made a conversion on 4th-and-6 with a catch by Westwood at the Lowry 33.
Westwood took over, rushing to the 25 and moving the chains with another carry to the 17.
He pushed the pile all the way to the Lowry 4, the drive capitalized by a three-yard keeper to paydirt by Guthrie.
The game was changed drastically by a bad snap on the extra point, killing the kick and eventually the outcome.
Spring Creek nearly saved its bacon on Lowry’s next drive.
Peterson broke a 45-yard run to the Spartans’ 12, but Owsley made a touchdown-saving tackle.
The Spartans dug deep, Guthrie making multiple tackles — forcing a field goal.
Special teams will be an area of work for both teams in practice, the kick sailing wide to the right.
Spring Creek took over and marched down the field, Guthrie converting a 4th-and-1 with a big push up the middle by the offensive line.
Owsley took a sweep for 15 yards to the Lowry 48 and ran once again to the Bucks’ 36.
However, the Bucks stopped multiple runs short and forced another fourth down.
Guthrie marched the Spartans to the 23 for another first down, but a huge penalty pushed Spring Creek all the way back to the 34.
Lowry senior Preston Snow drilled a ball carrier on a double-reverse, the Bucks dialing up a blitz and forcing a 4th-and-17 from the 30.
Guthrie was forced from the pocket and dropped clear back near midfield.
The Spartans forced a punt, and junior Jareyn Martinez partially blocked the kick — giving Spring Creek a shot of life.
Starting from their own 43 with a little more than two minutes remaining, Guthrie ran for a first down to the Lowry 46.
The rest of the game did not play out in Spring Creek’s favor.
An incomplete pass was followed by a pair of short gains of two yards each.
On 4th-and-6 with 1:36 on the clock, the Spartans coughed up the football in a strange play outside the pocket — Lowry either taking over on downs or jumping on the ball.
Either way, the game was sealed.
Peterson provided the exclamation point with an 18-yard carry, and the Bucks ran out the clock.
Lowry improved to 3-0 on the season and 2-0 in league play of the Division 3A North, Spring Creek falling to 0-2 on the year and 0-2 in league with another close loss.
The Spartans will hope to turn the corner on the road at 7 p.m. Friday against the Vikings, in South Tahoe, California.