Running on empty: Incline football falls to Yerington
INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — After an emotional and thrilling victory last week over its rival, Incline had little left in the emotional gas tank Thursday night for the fight Yerington brought to the North Shore.
The Highlanders shed tears. They suffered injuries, both physical and emotional. And ultimately they lost 44-6 to the more determined Lions in a 2A Northern League clash.
“We just didn’t show up mentally,” said Highlanders head coach Brian Martinez. “We were flat. We can make excuses all day, we had a short week, we didn’t have school on Monday, it was this, it was that, blah blah blah, but we flat out didn’t show up tonight. We weren’t hungry.”
The Lions sure were. The Lions hunted for their third straight victory like they were starved. They feasted early and often and the game was decided by halftime.
The Highlanders wore the same green and gold uniforms but resembled nothing of the team that beat North Tahoe six days prior on the same grass.
Yerington had something to do with that.
The Lions attack started with the game’s opening drive. Incline stuffed the first play but the next four resulted in 65 yards and a touchdown. Yerington after 90 seconds lead 8-0 with the two-point conversion.
Incline’s first offensive play featured Dylan Cleary sprinting 23 yards on a quarterback keeper. After a couple momentum-crushing penalties, the Highlanders turned it over. But their defense answered the challenge and forced a punt.
Incline’s next drive resulted in a touchdown, but for Yerington, not the Highlanders. The Lions returned an interception for a touchdown to make it 14-0.
The next two Incline drives didn’t go very far and the Lions countered with a pair of quick touchdowns.
Yerington led 26-0 with two minutes left the first quarter.
Incline put together its first good offensive drive to close the opening period.
Cleary hit Jeremy Page with two 13-yard passes and Joe Wilderman for 17 yards in a span of four plays but the drive stalled.
Yerington (3-0, 1-0 Northern) made the pain of the failed drive worse by scoring another touchdown to make it 32-0.
The Highlanders again mounted a drive featuring two passes to Johnny Redfern for 28 yards and a couple of short ones to Brad Rye. But they turned it over again and came up empty.
Rye finally broke up the shutout with an explosion out of nowhere. Not much was working on offense for the Highlanders. Down 38-0 and facing third-and-20, Rye grabbed a handoff and beat the defense to the corner. He turned up field at the home sideline and sped 63 yards for a touchdown.
“It’s one of the lessons in sports,” Martinez said. “I told them to embrace this pain and feel it, use it as fuel but you don’t want to feel this again. It hurts. Especially when we didn’t even give them a contest tonight.”
Rye finished with 95 yards on 13 carries, Cleary completed 11 of 25 passes for 77 yards and Redfern caught three passes for 34 yards.
The Highlanders (2-1, 1-1 Northern) will have a few extra days to lick their wounds before their next game. Incline will travel about 90 minutes Saturday, Sept. 15, to play Silver Stage.
“One good thing about having a short week is that we have a long week next week, “ Martinez said. “Those aches and pains, we have a few days to heel up. And that extra long week makes you extra hungry.”