One win away.
Lincoln County High School (11-1) and Yerington (11-0) go head-to-head this Saturday for the Division III State Championship game at Reno High School.
Kickoff is at 4 p.m.
Lincoln’s preparation this week for the big game has been about overcoming a big, experienced Yerington team. “[They are] bigger in numbers and bigger in size than us, so we’re going to have to throw the ball to try to equalize that,” Lincoln coach Rich Ottley said.
Lincoln also needs to continue its strong play on the defensive side of the ball. “We also have to tackle and stop their powerful running game,” the coach added.
Both teams boast high-octane running games and have dominated their respective leagues. “It’s the two best teams, so it will be a pretty tough game,” Ottley said.
Yerington is a juggernaut on the ground, averaging 309 yards rushing per game, according to MaxPreps.com. Senior running back Reese Neville leads the Lions with 125 yards per game rushing and 18 touchdowns. He also has 21 catches on the season for 423 yards and three touchdowns. “He is a really strong runner,” Ottley said. The Lions also get significant yards from junior running back Michael Monahan who is averaging 61.4 yards per game and has six touchdowns on the season.
Yerington balances its running attack with 107.3 yards per game through the air. Senior quarterback Dakota Aizzi has 1,086 yards passing with 13 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. Senior receiver Harrison Cisneros has caught 11 passes for 292 yards and six touchdowns on the year and senior Sam Hammond has 11 catches as well for 259 yards and three touchdowns.
The Lynx bring their own strong running attack to Reno. Lincoln has 1,737 yards rushing and 896 yards passing, according to NevadaPreps.com. Their leading rusher is senior Will Culverwell who has 567 yards on 93 carries and seven touchdowns this year. Senior quarterback McClain O’Connor has 414 yards rushing on 63 attempts and six touchdowns. Junior running back Cody Thornock has 407 yards on 59 carries and eight touchdowns.
O’Connor has completed 68 passes for 804 yards, 12 touchdowns and four interceptions. The team’s leading receiver is senior Mike Wood who has 18 catches for 256 yards and five touchdowns. Landon Smith has 13 receptions for 213 yards and one TD and Thornock has 16 catches for 156 yards and four scores.
What’s been special about the Lynx football team all year is how different players have stepped up throughout the season and made important contributions. They will need that balanced attack, and some big plays over the top of the Lions defense, to bring home the title.
“If we can hold up against their size and throw the ball, I’d feel good about our chances,” Ottley said.