A reeling Spanish Springs squad traveled to the northwest Reno school Friday night for what turned into an old-school McQueen beatdown.
The Lancers watched as the Cougars’ offense floundered in the first half, and the home team staked itself to a 22-0 halftime lead before building onto that in the second half to secure a 38-7 triumph.
“We never got a rhythm going for our offense in the first half,” SSHS football coach Scott Hare said. “It wasn’t just turnovers. We had no plays called and we would jump offside. It was very ‘Twilight Zone’ for our offense tonight. Obviously McQueen does a good job on defense. But we had so many mistakes that if we were going against air, we would have made mistakes.”
Both teams traded a pair of three-and-outs to start an unexciting game. McQueen’s third drive only lasted three plays, but this time the third snap led to six points.
The Lancers were set up deep in Cougars territory after a blocked punt was downed on the Spanish Springs 17. Three runs by Michael Harrison later, and the senior running back was crossing the goal line for the game’s first score. The PAT was good for a 7-0 MHS lead with 4:31 to go in the first quarter.
Spanish Springs’ offensive woes continued as senior tailback Conrad Tanyi coughed up the ball, allowing the Lancers to take over at the Cougar 41.
However, Tanyi made amends by stripping McQueen quarterback Kyle Robbins from behind one play after McQueen had a touchdown negated by a holding call. The Cougars recovered the fumble at the 11, but two plays into the ensuing drive, a mishandled snap enabled the Lancers to take the ball back at the 6.
A holding call pushed the ball back to the 14, but Robbins rolled out to the right into backside pressure. He still was able to throw a wobbler into the flat to Eric Martinez, who made two cutbacks and took it in from 14 yards out. Martinez then found the end zone on an option play for the two-point conversion, handing the hosts a 15-0 lead 30 seconds into the second quarter.
Spanish Springs had its fifth straight possession end in three plays or less, but a muffed punt gave the Cougars a chance to keep their drive going. It mattered little. The Purple and White drove to the 2, but a sack by an untouched Eric Delucchi sent the Cougs back to the 8. On the next play, quarterback Hunter Fralick was sacked and coughed up the ball at the 6.
The Lancers were undaunted by the task ahead. McQueen trekked 94 yards on nine plays, capped by a 1-yard Robbins sneak on fourth-and-goal, making it a 22-0 ballgame.
McQueen only ran three more plays than Spanish Springs in the first half, but outgained the visiting team 157-69. Harrison single-handedly outgained the Cougars, racking up 78 first-half yards on 13 carries.
Spanish Springs got its offense clicking a little better in the second half. On its second possession after halftime, Spanish Springs went 80 yards and erased the goose egg off the scoreboard thanks to a 9-yard touchdown run by Tanyi with 2:09 left in the third. But that was as close as the Cougars would get.
Thirty-eight seconds later, McQueen increased its lead to 29-7 when Harrison got around the right side of the line untouched and booked it 65 yards for a score at the 1:31 mark of the third.
Harrison found the end zone for a third time with 7:59 left to play, making it a 36-7 ballgame.
Harrison finished with 204 yards on 22 carries for the Lancers.
With the reserves in for both teams, Joshua Renteria tackled SSHS running back Kenny Depree in the end zone for a safety.
Tanyi ran for 100 yards on 24 carries to lead the Cougars.
Spanish Springs (3-4, 2-3 in Northern 4A) has now dropped three straight league contests, but has a bye week coming up to recuperate.
“Our practices have been good. They want to win,” Hare said. “We’re hurt. We had 12 guys on the sideline not suited up tonight. I went on the field tonight six times (for injuries). We’re playing guys all over. Right now, I want to just see us play healthy. I want to get us back to where we were playing Del Oro healthy. It’s not great, but we just have so many guys who are going down play after play after play that we have to regroup.”