Powerhouse grid clash: Incline ‘hosts’ Yerington Thursday in Reno
INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — Incline High School will play its first football game in about three weeks on Thursday when they host rival Yerington in the biggest game of the season.
Everything is on the line. Neither team has lost in league play. And the winner will control its destiny in the league title race and playoff seeding.
“It should be the game of the season, we’re preparing for everything,” said Brian Martinez, the Highlanders head coach. “We’ve put a lot of importance on this game. It will decide almost everything for the playoffs.”
The Highlanders game last Saturday was canceled because Silver Stage was excluded due to COVID-19, the second time a team has been forced to cancel on the Highlanders due to the virus.
The Highlanders are “hosting” Yerington, yet the game will be played at 6 p.m. at Galena High School in Reno due to construction delays on replacing goal posts on their home field. The school failed to get the installation complete ahead of the game so now Incline will hit the road for a Thursday night clash. Kickoff is at 6 p.m.
“In finding the positives while not being able to play at home, Galena has a nice, grass field that’s in great condition,” Martinez said.
After losing to upper division Sparks in a close battle to open the season, Incline has not lost and hasn’t given up many points.
Yerington has also only played four games this season and hasn’t lost any of them.
The teams have a couple of common opponents that they have already played and those final scores suggest Thursday’s clash will be a close and hard-fought.
Incline defeated Battle Mountain and Coral Academy 21-0 and 48-13 while Yerington beat the same two opponents 42-12 and 48-6, respectively.
“The positive thing about last week’s game being canceled was that we got more time to prepare,” Martinez said. “This is a special group of kids that are staying focused and motivated.”
The Highlanders smoked Yerington 38-8 during the spring, last season. It was their first victory over the Lions in about two decades, possibly longer.
The Lions are always among the 2A Northern League elite and this year’s clash will likely decide the league title.
The Highlanders have been leaning on a stingy defense that has allowed just 13 points in three league games, including two shutouts, and a rushing offense that is averaging about 243 yards per game and 7 yards per carry.
Quarterback Nick Suter and running back Joe Duran have led Incline this year with a combined 747 yards. Suter has 362 yards and six touchdowns and Duran has 385 yards and four TDs.
Suter hasn’t had to go to the air too much this season, but when he does, the senior completes over 50% of his passes (14 of 24) and hasn’t thrown an interception.
While he hasn’t thrown an interception, on defense Suter has picked off three passes and Duran has two.
Freshman Colin Combs is leading Incline in tackles with 37 with Suter next at 27.
Martinez said Yerington is very well coached, always has good players and it’s going to take good execution to pull out a victory.
“We’ve gotta beat them at their own game,” Martinez said. “We need to take care of the fundamentals and make tackles. If we execute the way we know we can, we will do well. We have big, strong kids and we have to take advantage of that.”
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