Jacob Park’s 75-yard punt return in the first quarter on Saturday gave Coleville High a lead it never relinquished en route to a 66-6 Western Division IV 8-man football victory at Smith Valley.
Coleville (2-0 league, 4-0 overall) scored 32 points in the second quarter to pull away from Smith Valley (1-1, 3-1) in a matchup between unbeaten teams and traditional rivals.
Coleville coach Will Sandy was quick to point out the game was far from easy.
“They are pretty physical,” Sandy said of the Bulldogs. “The score really wasn’t indicative of how tough the game was.”
Park scored four touchdowns on the day, two on punt returns, in addition to runs of 3 and 65 yards into the end zone. The senior tailback rushed for 89 yards on eight carries (11.13-yard average) on a day when the Wolves rushed for 255 yards as a team.
It was the 75-yard punt return — Park later scored on a 55-yard punt return — that got the Wolves on track.
“We struggled on our first possession; we drove down to the 20, but then we stalled,” Sandy said. “They punted the ball back to us, and if we don’t get a return, we would have had terrible field position. So, special teams did get us going.”
Coleville broke the game open with 32 points in the second quarter, largely sparked by its passing game.
Quarterback Seth Huhta threw for 175 yards and four touchdown passes. He rushed for another 54 yards and one TD.
Nestor Gutierrez caught five balls for 102 yards and 2 TDs, while Miguel Saldivar caught two balls for 43 yards and two TDs.
Joel Gomez rushed for 96 yards on six carries, highlighted by a 65-yard touchdown dash on a sweep in the fourth quarter.
“It was one of the prettier plays we had,” Sandy said. “He was patient, he let the play develop, and then he bounced outside.”
Defensively and on special teams, Sandy was enthused with the pressure the swarming Wolves put on the ball.
Sophomore Ricky Gieser was credited with 15 tackles (9 solo, 6 assists), while Gomez had a hand in 11 tackles (3 solo and 8 assists). Huhta was also in on nine tackles (four solo, five assists), plus he forced two fumbles.
Jordan James came up with two fumble recoveries and Jack Peters one.
Peters, a 220-pound junior lineman, saw his first action of the season after sustaining a sprained MCL in the preseason. He was in on four tackles (1 solo, 3 assists).
“You could tell he was a little rusty, but it was good to have him back,” Sandy said of Peters. “We have the tough part of our season coming up so we’re going to need all the size we can get.”
Coleville, which has now outscored four opponents 226-22, has a bye week before hosting Excel Christian on Oct. 12. The Wolves will also be at home on Oct. 19 against Virginia City in a showdown between 2012 league co-champions.