Lincoln County junior quarterback Cody Zile throws a pass during the state finals in Carson City.

It’s been an interesting season for the Lincoln County High School (LCHS) football team, and while the season may have started out rough, with a few losses to teams outside of the Lynx’s division, they brought the whole thing back around in time to have an impressive string of wins. Their scores were almost always blowouts, with their rivals barely able to keep up, including their last opponent, former state champions Pershing County, setting up an opportunity to play Yerington for the 2A state title.

But it wasn’t to be as the Lynx lost to the Lions 33-22 on Nov. 23.

There was a lot of emotion and hope coming into the game, since the last time the Lynx won the title was 14 years ago, and they were hungry to take it back. They entered the game with the impressive distinction of being the Nevada 2A Academic champions, an award given to the team with the highest combined GPA. Adding to the overall goodwill for the Lynx were the stands overflowing with Lincoln County residents who came out to support the team, along with two buses full of band members and cheerleaders.

As the game started at Carson High School in Carson City, the Lynx won the coin toss but deferred to the Yerington Lions. This first possession was a hint of what was to come further down the line: play after play, the Lions shoved the ball down Lincoln County’s throat. This resulted in a Yerington touchdown, followed by a field goal that put them up 7-0. Vern Shumway, one of the announcers and Lincoln County resident, said Yerington “Hit Lincoln in the mouth with that first drive.” 

The Lynx answered in kind immediately as Mason Thornock received the following kickoff and drove a spike through Yerington’s line to score a touchdown. This 80-yard run was followed up by a successful two-point conversion, putting the Lynx in the lead for the first and last time in the game.

Yerington pushed back hard, gaining another touchdown in the first quarter and holding the Lynx at bay despite their hard work. Though Yerington lost one player to injury, that was not enough to get Lincoln’s momentum back. The Lions were relentless, answering the Lynx’s touchdown with their own and holding the Lynx back from the end zone without mercy. 

Another huge 40-yard pass set Yerington up for their third touchdown of the game, putting the score at 20-8 until the end of the first half. Before that, however, there was a heated argument between a referee and the Yerington coach. Thornock got a hard hit on one of the Lions, and the Yerington coach stormed the field to argue the call. Yerington summarily received a penalty for this action, though it did not change the course of the game. 

After the halftime shows from LCHS’s band and cheer squad, the Lynx received the ball. The second half played out much the same as the first: while Lincoln showed tenacity and drive that made everyone proud, their inconsistent offensive moves ended up being too little, too late as Yerington widened the gap further and further, scoring twice in the second half. The Lynx actually outscored Yerington, netting 14 points to the Lions’ 13, but the gap was so wide before the half that there was little to no way they could bridge it. 

The only other note of the second half was the multiple personal fouls called on Yerington before the end of the game. This included one instance where they targeted a Lincoln County player, and another time pulled off Thornock’s helmet. 

“They’ve already got the game, so they’re trying to make a statement by, what, hurting our players?” Marty Soderborg, principal of LCHS and co-host of the evening radio broadcast, said heatedly during the game. “They’re showing their class, or lack thereof.” 

Class or no class, while the Lynx did everything they could, the Lions walked away victorious, 33-22. 

Despite this loss, as one of the teams that made it to state, Lincoln County has nothing to be ashamed of. As Jamie Perkins, mother of Trevin and Bryson Perkins of the LCHS Lynx, put it, “We are the smallest school in 2A. With only 147 kids, the cutoff for 2A is actually 170. And yet, we will take the field today against a school of 381 … Each game they showed the North that they would not so easily dominate the league.”