Ball boy Hawk Brooks, 7, exercised with the Mustangs during the halftime break.
Ball boy Hawk Brooks, 7, exercised with the Mustangs during the halftime break.
Lovelock hosted a full evening of high school football on Friday night.

It was the first game of 2017 for the Pershing County Mustangs and Sparks Railroaders.

Both teams roared onto Joe Yanni Field with high hopes. But only one team would start off the new year with a win — the Mustangs (18-8).

Dave McLean coaches the Mustang varsity squad, with help from Lance Condie, Dan Murphy, Craig Tippens and Jared Jensen.

The first quarter ended in a scoreless stalemate. Joaquin Wanner, Axel Gonzalez, Owen Bake, Lane Condie, Dylan Hultenschmidt and others got in some good tackles.

“Our entire defense tackled well,” said McLean.

But Pershing County could not get through the Railroader’s defense.

That changed in the second quarter when Derek Sandusky threw a touchdown pass to Owen Bake. Pershing County kicked the extra point.

“We started driving the ball down the field and scoring,” said Sandusky.

Later, Jayce Leyva rushed into the end zone for another six points. Finally, Eric Wagner kicked a field goal. Pershing County went into the half leading by 15-0. The Railroaders were unable to make up the deficit.

“We have plenty to clean up, especially on the offensive side of the ball,” said McLean. "But the effort from our kids was tremendous.”

Junior quarterback/defensive back Derek Sandusky agreed with the coach’s assessment.

“We need to improve on some things, but we still have a lot of football ahead,” he said.

Pershing County travels to Grass Valley, Calif., on Friday, Sept. 8 to play the Bear River Bruins.

They head West again on Friday, Sept. 15, to challenge Chester, Calif..

But after mid-September, the boys come home for awhile.

The Mustangs play their first league game of the season against White Pine on Friday, Sept. 22. The JV starts the Homecoming games at 4:30 p.m. and the varsity follows at 7 p.m.

Pershing County stays home to play Silver Stage on Sept. 29, at 7 p.m.

Last season the Mustangs went 12-0 and won the Class 2A state championship.

Pershing County is one of the smallest high schools in Nevada playing 11-man football. They start 2017 with a roster of 11 seniors and 11 juniors.