But after Sparks’ loss at Elko Friday night, SHS football coach Rob Kittrell was actually satisfied with the defense. Most would look at the eight touchdowns Sparks allowed and wonder how Kittrell could be pleased with the defense giving up 62 points.
It certainly was a much-improved effort by the defense from opening night when the Railroaders allowed nearly 450 yards to Yerington on the ground alone in the Lions’ 58-point offensive output.
Comparatively, against the Indians, the Maroon and Gold only allowed 283 yards of total offense.
Kittrell said he was pleased with the defense, but the offense didn’t do the defense any favors. Sparks managed just one first down in the opening quarter, and in the second half, Kittrell said Elko’s starting field position was probably around the Sparks 25.
Sparks’ offense was pretty much non-existent. Starting quarterback Geo Vasquez was 0-for-8 through the air and backup Arturo Herrera was 0-for-2 with an interception. Luckily, the running game racked up more than zero yards or the Railroaders would not have managed their two first downs in the game.
Senior running back Mario Guadron led the way with 22 yards on 11 carries. Herrera added 11 yards on two touches as Sparks totaled 32 yards of offense.
Making matters worse was the special teams. Two bad snaps on punts led to a pair of safeties.
Sparks was constantly giving Elko a short field with which to work. The Indians’ longest pass play went for 37 yards, while the longest run was only 20 yards.
Elko quarterback Dalton Ridgway only completed five passes, totaling 139 yards, while the running attack added 144 yards to the offensive total, led by Travis Kite’s 54 yards on 12 carries.
So Kittrell has a right to be pleased with the improvement on defense, considering Yerington had 518 yards of offense on 48 plays. Elko ran six fewer plays against the Railroaders and finished with 235 yards less than the Lions — a decrease of four yards per play by the Sparks defense.
Sparks will look to put a complete game together against Spring Creek at home Friday night.