Despite the smoke, despite the away venue, Fernley was firing on both sides of the ball Friday night.
The Vaqueros picked up a 46-13 win in their first league game of the season at South Tahoe High School.
The Vaqueros’ defense held South Tahoe to 80 rushing yards, 28 in the second half, and 127 receiving. Their offense put up equally impressive numbers.
Fernley set the pace in the first quarter.
Quarterback Skylar Williams connected with Kevin Montgomery for a 16-yard pass that landed the Vaqueros on South Tahoe’s 20. Two plays later, Williams snuck in the ball from 15 yards out, 6-0 Fernley with less than three minutes in the first.
Fernley then forced a quick three and out, and Justin Whitney’s 31-yard punt reception put the Vaqueros back in striking distance. Williams took advantage. He found Montgomery again with a 30-yard touchdown pass. The score ticked 13-0 Fernley as the PAT flew straight and the first quarter whistle blew.
The Vikings started to make progress in the second quarter. Fajman and running back Tylor Nicholson took turns muscling their way through Fernley’s defense. Yard-by-yard the Vikings made it to Fernley’s 12, but the drive ended in a fumble and Fernley recovery.
Williams started connecting with Montgomery again. Montgomery hauled in a 24-yard pass to take Fernley half the distance. Williams ran the ball another 16 then hit Montgomery with a 32-yard touchdown pass on two-and-15. A two point conversion put Fernley up 21-0 with two minute remaining in the half.
After another three and out, the Vikings were looking for something, and they got it when Fernley fumbled the punt.
South Tahoe recovered and Fajman found receiver Brandon Erickson on the next play for a 37-yard touchdown pass. The Vikings were on the board and the PAT was good with 38 seconds left on the clock.
But 21 seconds was all Fernley needed to answer back and deliver a huge momentum blow heading into halftime. The Williams-Montgomery combination connected again for a 59-yard touchdown pass. The score was 27-7 at halftime.
Fernley added two more touchdowns in the first four minutes of the second half, one on a 65-yard run and a second on a 74-yard run four minutes into the second half to make the score 40-7.
Montgomery added a final touchdown in the fourth on a 17-yard run.
The Vikings now trailed 7-46 halfway through the fourth. Erickson took one back when he broke through Fernley’s defense for a 64-yard touchdown. But the excitement was brief. The touchdown was retracted as a penalty for celebrating after the touchdown.
The Vikings were sent back to the 15-yard line without Erickson’s touchdown, but Fajman made good on the situation. He spun and then just muscled his way to the 3-yard line and punched the ball through on the next play.
UP NEXT: The Vaqueros are now 1-0 in league and overall. They will travel to Elko (1-0) on Friday.