The Meadows entered Allegiant Stadium on Thursday morning hoping to end a 12-year Class 2A state title drought. But the Mustangs couldn’t overcome their first-half mistakes in a 35-26 defeat.
A fumble led to Yerington’s go-ahead touchdown, and an onside kick led to a two-score disadvantage. The first half ended with consecutive snaps over Meadows quarterback Sean Gosse’s head. Those two miscues accounted for 54 yards in losses after The Meadows had reached the Yerington 19-yard line.
The state championship was Yerington’s 12th, including the most recent one two years ago.
“I basically told (the players) that we gave away two series,” The Meadows coach Jack Concannon said. “You can’t do that in games like this against teams like that.”
He said not recovering the onside kick was especially disappointing because the players were prepped to watch for it.
“We knew it was coming, and we didn’t react,” Concannon said. “I think my guys were hoping it was going to go out of bounds. It’s not bad to hope, but you should play.”
Even with all the mistakes, the Mustangs (11-2) came within a two-point conversion of potentially forcing overtime.
After Derek Bain rushed for a 4-yard touchdown with 2:35 left to cut the lead to 28-26, The Meadows called for Gosse to roll right and try to find 6-foot-4-inch Cole Canteenwalla in the corner of the end zone. The problem for the Mustangs is Yerington took away that passing option and any others for Gosse, who was sacked on the right sideline.
Yerington (9-0) then recovered the ensuing onside kick and drove 59 yards for the clinching touchdown with 1:07 left.
Gosse fought back tears as he talked about coming up short in the season’s final game. “You put in all the work, all the hours. To come that close, two yards away, it really hurts,” he said.
He certainly did his part, completing 35 of 44 passes for 377 yards and three touchdowns. John McGill and Tanner Woods each caught 10 passes for more than 100 yards.
It was quite a contrast to Yerington, which rushed for 310 yards, led by Erick Rodriguez’s 133 yards on 21 carries.
“Two years ago, we were playing eight-man football,” Concannon said. “We took a huge jump to win our league championship, to win two playoff games to get here. We have one senior. So we’ve got a bunch of work to do to make up for that nine points that we gave away here.”