RENO - The last two weeks have been excruciatingly tough for the Galena High football team.
The Grizzlies, after putting up back-to-back shutouts in the first two weeks of the season, lost two straight games by a combined six points (19-14 to McQueen and 14-13 to Shadow Ridge). Simply put, they were a frustrated bunch.
Galena, thanks to 177 yards and three touchdowns by Ryan Krueger, sent a homecoming crowd happy with a big 42-22 win over Spanish Springs Friday night in a High Desert League game.
"This is huge," said Galena coach Steve Struzyk, whose squad improved to 3-2. "It seemed like we were playing uphill the last two weeks. It feels great to get that first league win.
"Ryan ran extremely hard and Anthony Fritsche (3 for 72) had a breakout game at wide receiver, The defense didn't play that well tonight, but the offense picked it up tonight and did a great job."
Krueger had TD runs of 5, 4 and 15 yards respectively.
As good as Krueger was, it was back-to-back 22-yard runs by Casey Ernst and Jimmy Sargent that proved huge in the second half.
Spanish Springs had sliced a 21-0 deficit to 21-14, and was headed toward a game-tying TD when it was stopped at the Galena 13 with 1:33 left in the third quarter.
On third-and-9 from his own 14, sophomore quarterback Jacob Anderson found Fritsche for 25 yards and a first down at the 39. Spanish Springs was flagged for a late hit, one of several personal fouls the Cougars committed in the second half.
Two plays later, Ernst rumbled for 22 yards and a first down to the 23. Sargent gained 22 down to the 1. Ernst scored on the next play. Travis Gibson's PAT made it 28-14 with 10:42 remaining in the game.
"It (Ernst's run) was huge," Stryzk said. "It was a power play. He made a good read and broke it outside."
The Grizzlies' who got outstanding defensive play from Cole Dowty, Jake Hess, Ernst, Justin Gates and Joe Milegich, appeared to have Spanish Springs stopped on the next play, but a holding penalty kept the drive alive.
Then came some questionable play-calling. Spanish Springs went for it on fourth and 14 from its own 28. Bryan Williams was stopped after a 2-yard gain, and the Cougars were hit with a dead ball personal foul, giving the Grizzlies the ball on Spanish Springs' 15-yard line.
Krueger took it in on the next play, and the PAT made it 35-14 with 8:13 left.
Thanks to three personal fouls on Galena's defense, which suddenly lost its poise, the Cougars put together a 73-yard scoring drive, which was capped by Melvin Gentry's 12-yard scoring run and ensuing two-point conversion to make it 35-22 with 5:19 left.
Things got really hairy for the Grizzlies when Joshua Mull recovered the ensuing onside kick at the Galena 31. Daniel Birch, who threw for 84 yards and a score, was intercepted on fourth down by Sargent at the 23.
Galena bounced back with a 74-yard scoring drive capped by Mitchell Holland's 2-yard run. The drive was kept alive by a roughing the kicker penalty on the Cougars, giving Galena a first down at its own 38.
Sargent (87 yards) provided the backbreaker with a 52-yard run. Spanish Springs was hit with two personal fouls on the play, pushing the ball down to the 2.
Contact Darrell Moody at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by calling (775) 881-1281