Ethan Rhodes (left) and Mike Brooks react to the score board while Tom Brooks hugs Ty Arnett and Dave McLean smiles after Pershing County beat Yerington 20-14 on Friday, in Lovelock. The win ended the Lions 29-game winning streak.
Ethan Rhodes (left) and Mike Brooks react to the score board while Tom Brooks hugs Ty Arnett and Dave McLean smiles after Pershing County beat Yerington 20-14 on Friday, in Lovelock. The win ended the Lions 29-game winning streak.
In football, every game matters. If the opposing team is inexperienced, that gives the more seasoned team a chance to experiment. Everybody gets off the bench. Players try different positions on for size.

Last season, the Pershing County Mustangs played shutout games against Chester, West Wendover, Portola, and Silver Stage. But the coaches agree that a lot can happen in a year. And more importantly, young teams become seasoned teams if they work hard. Each squad is getting ready for a rematch, including the Mustangs. They begin Hell Week on Aug. 10, at 8 am.

Other games force a team to marshal all its resources for an all out war. Or give it a psychological boost that can propel it forward.

On Oct. 21, 2016, Pershing County hosted the Yerington Lions.

Each team entered the game 7-0 and wanted the win badly. But despite three trips inside the Lion’s 30-yard line, the Mustangs failed to convert in the first half.

At halftime, the Lions led 14-0.

It looked like Yerington would grab the victory and continue their 29 game winning streak. But Ty Arnett’s 26-yard run got the Mustangs on the scoreboard in the third quarter.

Inspired, Pershing County’s offensive and defensive lines turned up the heat. Tad Milich’s fourth quarter touchdown tied the score at 14. The game went into overtime.

The tables turned. Yerington missed a long field goal.

On third down, Ethan Rhodes passed to Owen Bake in the end zone. Bake caught the ball and clinched the win for Pershing with only moments to spare.

Pandemonium broke out under the October sky. Players embraced their teammates. Coaches hugged their athletes. Fans, friends, and family members rushed onto the field to congratulate the Mustangs.

Just weeks later Pershing County would win it all. The Mustangs wrested the state championship away from the Lions. It was Pershing County’s eighth state championship in school history and their first since 2012.

The Lions retreated to their den but will charge onto the field again determined to conquer their rival.