Will Sandy faced a dilemma in the final minute last Saturday when the Coleville High football had possession of the ball in the red zone in a game it was leading 50-43 against Virginia City.
Sandy, who is in his 24th season as Coleville’s coach, had flashbacks to the 2012 season when the Wolves knocked off Virginia City to take over sole possession of first-place in the Western Division IV race, only to get bumped out of the playoff picture entirely a week later due to a complicated three-way tie-breaker process.
“I thought about going for the touchdown because we needed to win by 14 to give us some breathing room in the tie-breaker,” said Sandy. “But then I decided we should just take a knee and run the clock out.”
With that 7-point win over Virginia City in the books, the Wolves now find themselves in familiar territory in preparation for their homecoming game Saturday against Mineral County. The game is scheduled for a 1 p.m. kickoff.
Coleville (4-0 league, 6-0 overall), holds a one game lead over both Virginia City and Mineral County in the standings, but needs to win or risk the chance of being knocked out of the playoffs … again.
Coleville’s only loss last season came at the end of the regular season, a 48-42 setback at Mineral County that created a three-way tie for first-place in the Western league.
“The bottom line is, we need to beat Mineral County and make sure it doesn’t come down to a tie-breaker,” Sandy said. “We’ve been waiting for this rematch since last year; we wanted to have a meaningful game for homecoming, and we’ve got it.”
Meanwhile, Mineral County (4-1, 7-1) is coming off a 60-8 win at Whittell’s homecoming last Saturday. The Serpents from Hawthorne absorbed their only loss of the season on Sept. 27, 49-36 at Virginia City.
The Wolves have one plus working in their favor, as far as Sandy is concerned. After five blowout wins decided by a combined score of 280-28, they were tested by Virginia City in a game that saw four lead changes.
“Everybody knew it was going to be a tough game, but preparing for a game like that is always easier said than done,” Sandy said. “This was the first game where we were a little rattled, this was the first time we’ve been punched in the nose, and the good thing about it, we made some huge plays when we needed them.”