INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. - By the scheduled 6 p.m. start of Incline's senior farewell homecoming game Friday, the Highlanders already led West Wendover by a 14-6 score.
It was that kind of action-packed night for the Highlanders, who sent their seniors out on a high note with a 45-12 rout in a game that kicked off a half-hour ahead of schedule.
"It was a very good game. It was very satisfying on several levels," said Incline head coach Scott Conn. "One was the importance of it being homecoming, the second was it being senior night - and we said goodbye to some of the best players to come through Incline - and third, we clinched a playoff spot."
In fact, the Highlanders clinched a playoff berth for the first time in 13 years with the victory, which improved their season record to 6-2 overall and 5-2 in Northern Division III play. They'll square off against top-seeded Pershing County (7-1 overall, 6-0 league) on the road this week to end the regular season, as well as the following week to open the postseason.
"We face the difficult task now of facing Lovelock (Pershing County) back-to-back at Lovelock," Conn said. "It will be a challenge for us. I'm not sure how we're going to pull it off, but we're going to give it our best try."
Incline's four seniors shone brightly in their final home game. Michael Wegener, Brendon Steinmeyer and Sean Herrera each scored two touchdowns apiece, while fellow senior Ben Reber was an animal on defense, recording nine tackles.
Led by their seniors leaders, the Highlanders built their lead to 20-6 by the end of the first quarter and 42-12 at the half after exploding for 22 second-quarter points.
Junior quarterback Christian Biscotti fueled the Incline offense with a sharp performance, as he completed 11 of his 14 passes for 210 yards, with two TD tosses. Both of those TD throws went to Wegener, who finished with 143 yards on just three catches, with a long reception of 64 yards on the first of his scores.
West Wendover, which featured a potent passing attack led by quarterback Kylar Sharp and receivers Stefan Eveleth and Kaydn Sharp, scored on a 17-yard pass play to Eveleth late in the second quarter to narrow the score to 35-12.
But Biscotti and the Highlanders answered with another deep bomb to Wegener, this one a 58-yard strike to adjust the score to 42-12 after Steinmeyer's PAT, with 0:00 showing on the clock.
Steinmeyer was all over the field, recording a team-high 14 tackles, including six solo, while Michael Guymon had nine tackles and Masxsimo Battel had eight.
"I can't say enough about the four seniors' performance," Conn said. "The program is definitely headed in the right direction. I'm extremely proud of the team and coaches, as well as the school and student body. They've been very supportive."