Underdog Highlanders go back to basics for battle with Pershing County | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Underdog Highlanders go back to basics for battle with Pershing County

Incline head coach Brian Martinez talks with his team Tuesday during practice. The Highlanders will play Friday at Pershing County.

INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

That's how the Incline football coach staff feels after witnessing the same disheartening effort in consecutive losses.

"We're underperforming at a very high level," said Highlanders head coach Brian Martinez. "It happened one week, and we thought maybe it was just had an off week. But two weeks in a row, now we're fixing things and making a lot of changes. We're moving kids around, the coaches are making changes, changes that make sense after seeing the same thing two weeks in a row."

After handling rival North Tahoe three weeks ago, Incline failed to "show up" against Yerington in a 44-6 loss and last week at Silver Stage in a 20-6 defeat. While the Highlanders have lost two straight, North Tahoe crushed Silver Stage 51-0 and led Yerington 20-14 after three quarters before falling 28-20.

Incline is more on the decline and that doesn't sit well with Martinez and his coaching staff. The coaching staff has discussed the issues and the players have also met and shared their feelings about the past couple of weeks.

"We've simplified some things and we're gonna go 100 percent this week," Martinez said. "We started this week with a good team meeting. Some of our team leaders stepped up and poured their hearts out. We all determined we can't be playing for ourselves, we need to play for our teammates and refocus what we're here for. As every team seems to be getting better, we're on the decline. This week is our week to head back up."

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Incline (2-2, 1-2 2A Northern League) will need to go 100 percent this week when they drive about two hours to Lovelock, Nev., for a battle against Pershing County (2-1, 2-0 Northern League). Kickoff is at 7 p.m.

The Mustangs traditionally are bigger than Incline and like to exploit the size advantage through their option attack.

And stopping the option requires defenders to be smart, as well as physical.

"We have to play disciplined football and we haven't been," Martinez said. "Even our wins haven't been great disciplined football."

Incline will return home next week to host West Wendover and will play Coral Academy of Science in its final regular season home game Oct. 19.

The top four teams advance to postseason and the Highlanders have some unfinished work.

Battle Mountain (3-0 Northern) sits atop the league and is followed by Pershing (2-0) and Yerington (2-0) and Incline is tied for fourth with North Tahoe, Silver Stage and West Wendover at 1-2.

League games this Friday include White Pine (0-4, 0-2 Northern) at Battle Mountain and Silver Stage at Yerington. North Tahoe plays Saturday at Coral Academy. West Wendover hosts Altamont Friday in a non-league clash.