The Indians’ success continued Friday night in the Rail City, rolling to a 28-6 victory over Sparks in prep football action.
“Crossing that big white line,” Sparks football coach Rob Kittrell said of what was missing for his team. “A lot of it is we’re trying to attack what the defense is giving us.”
After 14 straight run plays, Elko switched things up and went to the air. Quarterback Chris Davis used a play-action bootleg to roll out to the right and fired a 48-yard touchdown pass to put the visitors up 7-0 in the opening minute of the second quarter.
The Indians had a chance to extend their lead after returning a punt to the Railroaders’ 10 and a penalty at the end of the play tacked on five more yards.
However, they came away empty handed when on fourth-and-goal from the 4, running back Trevor Johnson tried to power his way up the middle but was stopped at the goal line.
Despite taking over at its own 1 with 7:38 remaining in the first half, Sparks put together its best drive of the night. The Maroon and Gold trekked downfield and got a first-and-goal at the 10 with about 30 seconds left on the clock.
Sparks did not pick up any yards on its first three plays after reaching the 10. A false start penalty pushed it back to the 15, making it fourth-and-goal from the 15 with 10 seconds left. Unfortunately for the Railroader faithful, who wanted the home team to go into the locker room with some points, the pass on fourth down was off the mark, leading to a turnover on downs.
The second half started off strange.
Sparks received the opening kickoff and a big return set the Railroaders up on their own 45. The hosts only ran one play from scrimmage. It would have been a big one, but running back Henry Banks fumbled after racking up 15 yards on the ground.
Elko recovered the ball and then started its drive with a long run by Johnson. However, he coughed up the ball after gaining 22 yards and Sparks got it right back.
The Railroaders could not get anything going despite taking over on their 40, and they had to punt the ball away.
The Indians’ offense then got rolling against a Sparks defense that was tough all night.
“They played great,” Kittrell said of his defense. “That’s a team which has been putting up around 300 yards of rushing. For the most part, we slowed them down.”
Elko started its scoring drive at its own 12 with 10:21 on the third-quarter clock. Seven minutes later, Johnson took it into the end zone from 8 yards out on a fourth-and-5 play, increasing the lead to 14-0. He also had a 50-yard run on a cutback earlier in the drive as he went over the century mark in rushing yards.
On the Indians’ next possession, the eastern Nevada school went 60 yards with nine rushing plays and went up 21-0 thanks to a 1-yard touchdown run with 10:39 left in the game.
Elko didn’t need nine plays the next time it got the ball in order to find pay dirt. Ty Wilson took the handoff on the first play of the drive and bolted 56 yards down the sideline to make it a 28-0 game.
With seven minutes remaining, Sparks got one last chance to break up the shutout. The Railroaders trekked 85 yards and Leonel Abundis punched it in from 5 yards out to erase the goose egg with 3:08 on the clock. The PAT was blocked.
Sparks fell to 3-6 overall and 2-6 in league play. The Railroaders will close out the season in a non-league matchup at Wooster.
“I know I’m feeling more of the loss because this will be our last week with them as a family,” Kittrell said. “It’s like I told these guys, this has been one of the greatest years coaching football just because of the effort these kids give day in and day out.”