Photo by Robert Switzer

The Ely Times

Sometimes getting over the mountain is harder than getting to the top. So it was with a disappointing 26-25 loss to West Wendover for White Pine in the third of their four opening home games this football season Sept. 7 in Ely.

After playing better in the second half than in the first half, the Bobcats could have tied the game with about three minutes remaining, but missed the kick for point after.

Coach Nick Lopez said, “We let the Wolverines score on us quickly, getting all their points in the first half. Then we shut them out in the second half, but couldn’t overcome that point difference.”

The reason was, the Bobcats missed on both of their second half conversion point tries.

West Wendover scored twice before White Pine could answer in the first period. “We had some young kids filling in for injured players,” Lopez said. “But after we made adjustments at halftime, we came out ready to go.”

Junior quarterback Devin Starkey has been lost for the season with broken ribs, which happened in the first game with Milford, Utah. Sophomore Isaias Gonzales has stepped in behind center.

After White Pine scored a touchdown to pull within one point of the Wolverines, but had been stopped on their last two point-after tries, Lopez said he decided to go for the tie with a kick, but the kick was missed.

“We did recover the onside kick attempt with about three minutes left in the game,” the coach said. “We took the ball on about the 40 yard line and moved it to the 25 yard line, but then we just made a few mistakes, got pushed out of field goal range, and turned the ball back over to Wendover after failing on a fourth down play.

“The Wolverines took over and out the clock. I think the pressure of the situation got to the younger kids we are having to play because of injuries. Younger kids will get the jitters and make mental mistakes at times. We’re just so young, I think it’s the nerves affecting them. Most of the second half, they calmed down and started doing what they are supposed to be doing.”

Lopez thinks the team’s biggest problem at the moment, “is giving up too many points in the first quarter. If not for that,  we’d be alright.”

The Bobcats have struggled in the first quarter this season, surrendering 28, 26 and 13 first-quarter points in the first three games. “It’s hurting us when we’re down like that right off the get-go,” he said.

The second game of league play happens this Friday as the Bobcats host two-time league champion and two-time defending state champion Pershing County (1-1).

Lopez expects the game will also feature the Mustangs’ Nevadapreps 2A First Team All State running back, senior Jayce  Leyva, who piled up 1,562 rushing yards last season including 228 yards and three touchdowns in the state championship game with Battle Mountain.