Lowry’s Anthony Gildone stretches out for catch in the first quarter against Fernley on Saturday in Winnemucca.
Lowry’s Anthony Gildone stretches out for catch in the first quarter against Fernley on Saturday in Winnemucca.
Saturday’s meeting between the Lowry High School football team had a playoff atmosphere to it, with the brown dormant grass and the cold, wet and windy conditions usually fitted for November.

Fernley came in as the reigning 3A state champion from 2019, but during that season, the Vaqueros lost to the Buckaroos. 

The Vaqueros would trail early on Saturday afternoon, but rallied to beat the Buckaroos 50-21.

For Lowry (2-1), it was the first loss of the season.

“Fernley gave us some fits and it was rough on us,” said LHS coach Taua Cabatbat. “We had to get out of our game plan and had to make some changes. We got out of what we wanted to do quick and it steam rolled from there. You have to give them credit, they are a good team.”

Fernley used its option offense to move down the field on the initial drive of the game, only to fumble the ball away deep in Lowry territory.

The Buckaroos scored two plays later. A deep pass from Caden Ricci to Anthony Gildone moved the ball to near midfield.

On the next play, Anthony Peterson broke free for a 59-yard touchdown run and a 6-0 lead with 8:08 left in the first quarter. 

That would be the only lead for the Buckaroos.

Fernley would scored two touchdowns in a five-minute stretch to lead for good. After the Peterson score, Fernley quickly moved 55 yards and scored on a 13-yard pass play from Julian McIntyre to Tucker Hall to make the score 8-6 after the 2-point conversion.

Lowry went 3-and-out on its next possession and Fernley needed to drive just 39 yards to go in front 16-6 after an 8-yard run by McIntyre.

The Buckaroos were able to drive into Vaquero territory on the running strength of Giovani Sapien, Braden Hammargren and Peterson. 

However, the drive ended on downs and Fernley quickly answered back

 One play later, McIntyre broke free for a 70-yard touchdown run and a 24-6 advantage with 11:32 to play in the first half.

Lowry converted a fake punt on its next drive to keep the possession going and were inside the Fernley 10-yard line, but had to settle for a 32-yard field goal by Hammargren to make the score 24-9.

Fernley’s offense continued to click, scoring three minutes later, this time on a 43-yard run by Anthony Thompson. 

The Buckaroos kept within striking distance, scoring on a 6-yard run by Ricci at the end of the first half to cut the deficit to 30-15 at the break.

The first four minutes of the second half turned out to be the difference in the contest.

Fernley attempted an onside kick to begin the third quarter but it was unsuccessful. 

That left the Buckaroos at midfield. Ricci connected with Gildone and Sapien on two passes, but the drive stalled out on downs at the 15-yard line.

Fernley gifted the ball back to Lowry on the next play on a fumble, but the Buckaroos could not turn into points. 

On the ensuing drive, Lowry was whistled for four consecutive penalties, the final one calling back a touchdown pass from Ricci to Sapien. The Buckaroo touchdown could have closed the gap to a one-score game.

The momentum quickly changed, as McIntyre broke free two plays later for an 80-yard touchdown.

Lowry quickly went 3-and0out on its next drive and the Vaqueros quickly countered with a 12-yard run by Brandon Reyes to make the score 44-15 with 2:22 left in the third quarter.

“We had our chances,” Cabatbat said. “We were in the red zone a few times and we just had self-inflicted wounds. We had a chance to make it a one score game and then we are down by 30.” 

Lowry cut into the deficit early in the fourth quarter on a 45-yard pass from Ricci to Sapien, only to see Fernley finish the scoring with a 5-yard run by Emiliano Alonzo.

Lowry travels to Spring Creek on Saturday for a 3 p.m. kickoff.

“Now we see what we can and how we respond,” Cabatbat said. “We need to bounce back and make a push. We need to find some answers. We don’t have any right now but we will go back to the drawing board and get ready for Spring Creek.”