“It was a sloppy game. It was about what we expected,” Lowry football coach Tim Billingsley said after his team improved to 6-1. “Sparks is struggling right now. We just wanted to come get some guys in and try to get healthy. We’re trying to get some guys healthy for a pretty tough run coming with Fernley and Fallon.”
Lowry got on the board early and often.
In the opening minutes, the Buckaroos trekked down a short field and Michal Arenas capped the drive with a 1-yard touchdown run. The extra point made it 7-0 with 9:27 on the clock.
On the second play of the ensuing possession, a lateral fell to the ground and Lowry’s Daniel Pollock picked it up and returned it 15 yards for a touchdown. The Buckaroos led 13-0 at the 8:43 mark of the first quarter after the extra point was no good.
On Sparks’ next possession, the Railroaders would have a good play and then a bad play would set them back again. The fourth play of the drive saw Sparks fumble and Lowry recover at the 33 of the Maroon and Gold.
The Buckaroos proceeded to make it a 19-0 game as Arenas escaped one arm tackle and took it in from 9 yards out with 5:40 remaining on the first-quarter clock.
Lowry had a shot at scoring a fourth touchdown in the opening quarter after forcing a three-and-out with Sparks pinned down inside its own 5.
The Railroaders punted and Calvin Connors received it at the 36. He bounced backward to avoid a tackler and then sprinted down the left side of the sideline until he was tackled at the Sparks 5 with 37 seconds on the clock.
However, a fumble, chop block penalty, incompletion and an ineligible receiver penalty thwarted that potential scoring drive.
Lowry got a second chance at starting a drive at the Sparks 5 when the Railroaders fumbled on their next possession.
The Buckaroos didn’t give away another chance at six points, but it looked sketchy until Connors completed a fourth-and-goal pass play from the 6 to Michael Billingsley. The two-point conversion was no good, leaving the visitors with a 25-0 lead and 8:27 to go before halftime.
Sparks pushed into Lowry territory, but turned the ball over on downs at the 45.
The Buckaroos had to find a way to keep their drive going, facing a fourth-and-10. They did.
Arenas concluded a 55-yard scoring drive with a 5-yard touchdown run. Connors crossed the goal line on the two-point conversion, pushing the gap to 33-0 with 3:30 left in the half.
With a minute left before the break, Lowry got the ball back near midfield. That was enough time for Connors to lead his team down the field and complete a 16-yard touchdown pass that never appeared to be caught by anyone. Still, Lowry was given a 39-0 lead heading back into the locker rooms.
It didn’t take long for the Buckaroos to institute the running clock in the second half. Their first possession started on their own 30 and ended with Michael Billingsley taking an inside give and bouncing to the outside for a 17-yard touchdown run. On the two-point conversion, Connors faked a pitch on an option and took it into the end zone himself, increasing the gap to 47-0 with 9:39 on the third-quarter clock.
Sparks ran one offensive play on the ensuing possession. Geo Vasquez threw up a floater and was picked off by Tanner Lecumberry at the 43. Lecumberry ran it back to the 6.
After going backwards on the first play, Beau Billingsley was able to score on an 8-yard touchdown run for a 53-0 lead. He later had a 50-yard touchdown run called back due to a holding call.
In the fourth quarter, Sparks sustained its first drive into the Lowry red zone. The Railroaders also were able to erase the goose egg off the scoreboard with 3:21 to play. On third-and-6 from the Buckaroos’ 21, Hennessey Banks took a pitch left and blazed his way to the end zone, accounting for the final 53-6 margin.
“We gave up that one late. There were a lot of penalties and kind of sloppy play. We’re going to shape it up over the next week,” Billingsley said.
Sparks (0-7, 0-6 in Division I-A North) is back at home Friday against South Tahoe. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.