A long season for the young Fernley High School football team ended with a 20-19 loss on Friday to a Rite of Passage squad that erased a 13-point deficit in the fourth quarter.
Aaron Keller put the Vaqueros (3-6, 0-5 Division I) up 19-6 with a 5-yard touchdown run early in the fourth, but the Rams stormed back to claim the 3A victory. William Castro found Brett Bradshaw for a 40-yard score to bring R.O.P. to within seven, and then the two hooked up again one play later on the two-point conversion to make it 19-14.
Later, Greg Watters scored his second touchdown of the evening, this time from 7 yards out, capping a drive that saw R.O.P. run the ball eight times to give the Rams the victory.
"I think we wore down a little bit," said Fernley assistant Phil Depaoli. "R.O.P.'s a pretty good team. They have a lot of speed at linebacker, and they really ran it at us on that final drive."
Watters had an 18-yard pass from Castro to stake R.O.P. to 6-0 lead in the second quarter, but Fernley went ahead 7-6 by halftime. Joey Fennessey added an 8-yard run in the third quarter.
Watters led all rushers with 102 yards on 21 carries, while quarterback Matt Lambeth led Fernley with 72 yards on his four attempts. Fennessey rushed for 53 yards, and Kyle Davis had 61.
Castro completed 13 of 30 passes for 279 yards and two touchdowns, but he also had four interceptions. Bradshaw led the Rams with 142 yards on four receptions.
Lambeth completed 10 of 29 for 90 yards and a touchdown.
"We've got a group of linemen, and all of our skill players back next year for the most part," Depaoli said. "If we work hard in the summer, we should be a good team next year."