The Pershing County Mustangs huddle under Incline’s Homecoming lights on Friday night.
The Pershing County Mustangs huddle under Incline’s Homecoming lights on Friday night.
The home turf advantage can make or break a high school football team. 

On Friday, several hundred Incline Highlander fans braved record-setting winds to watch the Highlanders compete against the guys with the target on their backs, the Pershing County Mustangs.

But despite the home turf advantage, Pershing County flattened Incline 12-7 in a close defensive battle on the Highlanders' homecoming night.

Pershing County  now stands at 3-1, overall and 3-0 in the 2A Northern League.

Offensively, both teams did all their scoring in the first half. Early on, Pershing County’s Jessy Gonzalez  lit up the scoreboard on a pass from quarterback Ricky Reitz, pushing Lovelock to a 6-0 lead. 

Next, Highlander quarterback Dylan Cleary ran the ball home for Incline on a Mustang fumble.

The Highlanders, coached by Brian Martinez, led by one point at the end of the first quarter 7-6. 

Reitz punched in another touchdown midway through the second quarter. His trip to the end zone was the last of the night.

The drama happened late in the fourth quarter. Pershing led by 12-7 but Incline got the ball and Cleary passed to Rye. 

It looked like smooth sailing. No doubt, the Highlanders pictured their fans jumping out of the stands with joy as the score tilted in their favor.

But, with 80 seconds to go, Ricky Reitz crushed Incline’s dreams. The senior standout intercepted Cleary’s pass and saved the day for Lovelock. Rye chased Reitz, and nearly swiped the ball, but Reitz sprinted away, running down the clock for Pershing.

The Highlanders looked for the silver lining. Last year the Mustangs swept the rug out from under the boys in green and gold (59-0). This time Incline forced Pershing into five turnovers and came close to stealing the Mustang’s thunder.

“Incline played well and did some things that were difficult for us to deal with,” said Pershing’s Head Coach, Mike Brooks.

Reitz led the Mustangs with nearly 200 yards rushing and the big interception. Sebastien Donaldson beefed up the Mustang’s offense. Haydon Burrows and Daniel Reitz held the line tight.

Pershing Countyh’s homecoming is on Friday against the Yerington Lions. 

The Lions, like Lovelock, are 3-0 in the 2A Northern. Their 2018 season ended with a 27-8 playoff loss at Battle Mountain.

Last September Lovelock beat Yerington 40-12 on Martin Field, the Lion’s den. Since then, Coach Brad Pope’s troops lost 11 seniors to graduation. Pershing said farewell to 14 grads. So far this year, Pershing leads the 2A with Yerington in the runner-up spot.

“This next game is going to be huge for us, and we’re going to have to play to the best of our ability which we haven’t done yet,” said Donaldson, a senior RB/LB for the Mustangs.

The Pershing County JV comes back from a bye week to take on Yerington JV. 

They lead off at 4:30 p.m. Varsity follows at 7 p.m.