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Cougars maul Panthers
by Dan Eckles
Sep 02, 2011 | 1194 views | 0 0 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Tribune photo by John Byrne - Spanish Springs sophomore quarterback Hunter Fralick stands tall in the pocket as he gets set to fire a pass down the field.
Tribune photo by John Byrne - Spanish Springs sophomore quarterback Hunter Fralick stands tall in the pocket as he gets set to fire a pass down the field.
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The North Valleys Panthers may have just gotten a chance to witness the “Hunter Fralick-Vance Lively Coming Out Party.” On Friday night, the Spanish Springs quarterback-wide receiver combination was as impressive as any in the brief history of SSHS football, 10 years.

It carried Spanish Springs to a 34-14 home romp over North Valleys in a non-league prep football battle.

The Cougars’ dynamic duo hooked up six times and two of those went for touchdowns. Three of those connections went for 26 or more yards. Fralick finished the night, completing 15-of-25 passes for 278 yards and a pair of scores, both to Lively, who caught the six balls for 177 yards receiving.

Fralick is just a sophomore and Lively, a junior, is one of the fastest athletes and top jumpers in northern Nevada. Cougars coaches are hoping Friday night’s standout performance is the first of many for the local twosome.

“I felt more comfortable tonight and that had a lot do with the guys in front of me,” Fralick said of his offensive line. “And Vance is one of the best athletes I’ve ever been around. I know if I throw it, he’ll come down with it. We just know each other. I know when he’s coming out of his breaks. I know how he can jump.”

Spanish Springs marched right down the field on its first drive, finding the end zone on a 26-yard jump ball touchdown pass from Fralick to Lively. The extra-point was good and the Cougars had a 7-0 edge with 5:12 to go in the first quarter.

Fralick completed all five of his passes on the 98-yard opening drive.

That was bad for North Valleys but it quickly got worse. The Panthers fumbled the ensuing kickoff and Spanish Springs’ Chris Garcia scooped up the football and rumbled into the end zone from 4 yards out for a second SSHS touchdown in an eight-second span.

North Valleys got on the scoreboard early in the second quarter, thanks in large part to the big play. After a touchback following a Spanish Springs punt, North Valleys running back James Munson broke loose for a 79-yard run down to the SSHS 1. On the next play, he dove over the goal line for a touchdown that helped the visiting Panthers trim the Spanish Springs lead to 13-7.

That’s as good as it got for North Valleys.

A pair of Spanish Springs drives stalled out in North Valleys territory in the first eight minutes of the second quarter, but the SSHS gridders did find success again. The Cougars found the scoring column after Fralick and Lively hooked up again, this time on a 44-yard connection down the middle for a touchdown. The big play left Spanish Springs on top 20-7 with 2:27 remaining before halftime. The score remained that way into the break.

The solid first half was in stark contrast to last week for Spanish Springs, which saw Del Oro of suburban Sacramento, score on its first seven possessions and hang a 48-14 halftime deficit on its guests from the Rail City.

“Del Oro was ranked No. 95 in the country. We scheduled them for a reason,” Spanish Springs coach Scott Hare said. “North Valleys is a local opponent. We’re used to them. It feels good to win, but there are still a lot of little things that we’re not doing right that we need to fix.”

Just like in the first half, the Cougars offense wasted no time, scoring again on its initial drive of a half. It took the Cougars just over three minutes to go 60 yards. Conrad Tanyi got into the end zone from 4 yards out, propelling Spanish Springs to a 27-7 advantage with 8:55 showing on the third-quarter clock.

The Cougars were not about to give up momentum. SSHS safety Blake Nauman got the beat on a North Valleys screen play and intercepted the pass. He returned the pick 37 yards to the Panthers’ 49. Minutes later, Tanyi rumbled into the end zone for a touchdown on a fourth-and-2 play. Spanish Springs then led 34-7 with just under a minute left in the third quarter.

The key play of the drive was a Fralick to Lively 41-yard hookup down the sideline that set the hosts up at the Panthers’ 18.

“Our defense played well,” Hare said. “And it wasn’t about the scoreboard and how many scores they gave up. I was impressed with how physical they played tonight. We really need to be a physical football team and we were tonight.”

North Valleys (1-1) did manage a late touchdown. Panthers QB Daniel Lewis rolled out and found Kyle Gray open in the end zone for a 5-yard touchdown. The guests trailed 34-14 with 6:30 to go in the game at that point.

“Physically, they outplayed us,” North Valleys coach Ty Gregg said. “We didn’t play well and that probably had a lot to do with our opponent … It’s totally unacceptable how we defended the pass.

“The team they played last week, you can’t hide that talent on film. That Del Oro team would be a force anywhere. It was good for Spanish Springs to bounce back tonight. I tip my hat to them.”

Spanish Springs (1-1) will be back in action Friday at Hug for a 7:30 p.m. affair, the Northern 4A League opener for both schools.
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