Incline football: Highlanders stomp Silver Stage, end season on high note
INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — With five straight losses in its rear-view, the Incline football team was determined to finish the season on a high note.
The Highlanders did that and then some.
Fueled by a strong run game and a dominant defense, Incline cruised to a 25-6 victory over Silver Stage in its season finale last Thursday at Incline High School.
“It was a really good way to end the season,” said Incline coach Michael Sacci, whose team racked up 323 offensive yards. “Really, all the kids did a phenomenal job. For the seniors, they just wanted to end the season right, and they definitely did that.”
No one more than senior running back Conor Nix, who rushed for a team-high 175 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries (9.7 yards per carry) and hauled in two TD receptions.
“He had a huge day, he did great,” Sacci said.
After JJ Snyder opened Incline’s scoring with a 4-yard touchdown trot, Nix took over. The senior galloped in a 19-yard TD in the first quarter before hauling in consecutive 12-yard touchdown passes from Nick Barnard in the second quarter.
When the dust settled, the Highlanders held a 25-0 command over the Nighthawks at halftime.
Silver Stage trimmed the lead with a touchdown in the third quarter, but Incline’s defense held a stranglehold on the Nighthawks the rest of the way.
Barnard led the defense with 11 tackles and an interception. Kaelan Pugh had nine tackles and two fumble recoveries, while Eleazar Santiago and Andrico Mourelatos added nine tackles apiece.
Snyder finished with 97 yards rushing on 14 carries.
The victory was especially satisfying to the Highlanders (2-5), who were defeated by Silver Stage 18-12 — losing on a Hail Mary pass — in their first meeting on Sept. 10.
“The kids definitely played with a chip on their shoulder,” Sacci said. “We switched our offense quite a bit; we went to a balanced set and were able to pick part their personnel. They kind of didn’t know what to do with the packages we threw at them; we ran a lot of option and fly sweep plays.”
For Sacci, the win over Silver Stage also showed him how much his young team has grown over the course of the season.
“They way they progressed this season was beyond my expectations,” he said. “We played tougher and tougher opponents, and it was cool to play the same team twice to see where were at from when the season started.
“The coaching staff couldn’t be more excited for next year.”