Incline defeats Silver Stage behind strong defensive play
Special to the Bonanza
The Incline Highlanders hosted the Silver Stage Nighthawks for their home opener last Friday night at Highlander Field.
Once again, the Highlanders found themselves greatly undersized and much younger than their opponent. And, once again, they counted on their defense to keep them in the game. This time the defense not only kept the game close, but ensured the win by shutting out the Nighthawks (1-1) offense as Incline (1-1) took a 14-2 win.
The Highlanders defense was led by sophomore middle linebacker Jorge Cardiel and senior defensive end Max Wilderman.
After a pair of safeties from each team — both caused by snaps going over the punter’s head — Cardiel recovered a fumble caused by a sack from Wilderman, and returned it for the first touchdown of the game. Cardiel would recover three fumbles on the night. Wilderman finished his game with three sacks.
The Highlanders recovered two additional fumbles during the game, one by sophomore Zach Pexa and one by freshman Marco Barraza. Freshman quarterback and cornerback, Dylan Cleary, started the turnover-fest when he jumped an out pattern for an interception in the first quarter.
The Highlanders defensive line was in the Nighthawks’ backfield all night. Defensive ends Wilderman and Barraza contained the run and rushed the passer, while freshman 100-pound nose guard, JT Page and senior defensive tackle Nick Colby disrupted plays in the middle.
The Incline offense was quiet most of the game, but found some momentum in the second quarter with a 35-yard touchdown pass from Cleary to Pexa.
“We still have a lot of work to do,” Highlanders Head Coach Michael Sacci said after the win. “But I couldn’t have asked for a better effort from the boys. Friday night showed me what this young team is capable of.”
The Highlanders travel to Yerington (1-1) to play the Lions on Thursday, Sept. 7, at 6 p.m.
Yerington most recently took a 15-6 win over Las Vegas team, Democracy Prep Agassi Campus.