FERNLEY — All things considered, Fernley coach Chris Ward felt pretty good despite heading into the halftime locker room trailing by a touchdown Friday night against Truckee.
Two long runs and a big defensive effort proved his confidence to be well-founded.
Fernley rallied from an early 14-0 deficit to beat Truckee, 28-14, setting up a showdown with Fallon next Friday for the possible No. 1 seed in Division I-A North.
Matt Taylor gave Fernley its first lead of the game on a 23-yard touchdown run with 3:03 left in the third quarter, and Eddie Sloan returned an interception 22 yards for a score to ice the game with 20.6 seconds remaining.
The lightning bolt that sparked the turnaround came on the first play of the third quarter.
Trailing 14-7 at the half, Fernley quarterback Kyle Throckmorton gave his team an immediate lift, taking an option keeper 90 yards around the left end to cut the lead to 14-13.
“That was a huge play,” Ward said. “Huge play.”
Ward said he and the Fernley players went to halftime feeling pretty good about themselves despite the deficit. They felt like they had stabilized things after falling behind 14-0 in the first six minutes.
Truckee opened the game with two touchdowns in a 41-second span to take a 14-0 lead. Noah Williams scored on a 19-yard run on Truckee’s opening possession, then Quinn Cottel returned a fumble 11 yards for a score on Fernley’s second play of the game.
“It was scary there in that first quarter, especially,” Ward said. “At least it didn’t get too ugly there, right off the bat.”
With Fernley celebrating homecoming, and having a special ceremony in which the teams lined up to allow 2-year-old cancer patient Tyce Campbell to score a touchdown, Ward said his players weren’t ready for the start of the game.
“There were a lot of distractions with homecoming, everything with Tyce and stuff, and we just had to get back in game mode after that,” Ward said.