Football: Coleville's Peters goes wild in win over Smith Valley

The six touchdown passes and one rushing touchdown that Coleville's Jason Peters had were all fine and dandy Saturday in Smith where the Wolves opened 1A West Division league play with a 58-26 win over Smith Valley.

Afterall, when a team is averaging almost 50 points a game you expect to see the quarterback put up some big numbers.

But you don't normally expect to see that same quarterback carry the ball thirty yards with defenders hanging on him, jumping on his back, flying into him and in some cases, coming back for a second hit before finally being stopped.

"I think everyone on our defense had two shots at him on that run," said Smith Valley coach Joe Acciari.

Peters' run, aided by teammate Emmi Sandoval's catapult into a mass of humanity at the Bulldogs' 20-yard line, finally ended at the 10.

On the next play Peters hit Trevor Anderson on a 10-yard touchdown pass to give the Wolves a 42-20 just before the end of the third quarter, effectively ending the comeback hopes of a Smith Valley team that had done just enough to "hang around" until that point.

The Wolves looked unstoppable early as they overcame a fumbled punt on their 10-yard line to take a 16-0 on Peters' touchdown passes to Sandoval and Dylan Hudson.

Smith Valley, meanwhile, looked flat, despite taking on a team that is a virtual backyard rival (the schools are less than an hour apart) and wanting to avenge a 56-40 non-conference loss to the Wolves on Sept. 1.

"I guess I was wrong," said Acciari in reference to post-game comments two weeks earlier in regard to his team not having any trouble being ready for this game. "We're trying to work on being ready. It shouldn't be that hard for guys to be excited to play for 48 minutes."

The Bulldogs' Diego Verdugo did give Smith Valley something to be excited about, stopping a Coleville drive with the first of his two interceptions.

The lanky quarterback then capped an eight-play scoring drive with a 13-yard run that saw him avoid a sack at the 25-yard line on fourth down before running cross-field for the score, cutting the Wolves' lead to 16-6.

"He was just a bit player for them last year," said Coleville coach Will Sandy. "But he's doing a heckuva job now and he really carried them today.

"He's awfully quick and persistent. You think you've got him and off he goes."

Any momentum the Bulldogs had at that point quickly evaporated when Sandoval returned the ensuing kickoff 75 yards for a touchdown. Peters' conversion pass to Hudson pushed the Wolves' lead to 24-6.

"I told the kids this week that Coleville is going to score points," said Acciari, "but that we needed to keep our heads up and come right back after we got scored on."

The Bulldogs didn't score on their next possession but forced a Coleville punt, which Spencer McLaughlin blocked, giving Smith Valley the ball at the Wolves' 20-yard line.

Smith Valley cashed in three plays later when Chris Hardy bulled his way into the end zone from seven yards out, cutting Coleville's lead to 24-12.

And all of a sudden Smith Valley looked alive.

"Their intensity went up and we got a little tired and lazy and they just started beating us at the line of scrimmage for awhile," said Sandy. "Their defensive line just started beating our offensive line."

Smith Valley running back Leo Fontana, a foreign-exchange student playing his first game for the Bulldogs and his first ever as a running back, was the main beneficiary of the improved line play.

After netting one yard on five first-quarter carries, the 6-foot-1, 180-pounder ran for 40 yards on seven second-quarter carries.

Despite cutting the lead to 12 and forcing another Coleville punt, Smith Valley couldn't convert on its own possession and Peters took advantage, hitting Sandoval in stride in the back of the end zone with 62 seconds left in the half for a 30-12 lead.

But Verdugo again lifted the Bulldogs, returning the ensuing kickoff 75 yards for a touchdown. Hardy's conversion run cut the Wolves' lead to 30-20.

Peters, however, was not to be outdone. He connected with his usual favorite target, Anderson, for a 69-yard touchdown pass and 36-20 with 32 seconds left in the first half.

It was an extraordinary scoring flurry, even for an eight-man game, as the teams combined to score 20 points in less than 40 elapsed seconds.

"We had to play four quarters today (to win) and I think we did that," said Sandy.

"Smith Valley played tough. We just came up with some more big plays than they did."

The third quarter was quiet for both teams until Peters' 30-yard run.

"It wasn't a pretty run but it was impressive," said Sandy.

The six-foot-1, 190-pound Peters finished with 71 yards on 14 carries to go with 15-21 passing for 299 yards, the six touchdowns and two interceptions. The sophomore also dealt out a number of big hits on the defensive side.

"He didn't play defense for us much in the first three games because of a bruised shoulder," said Sandy. "But it makes a big difference having him out there to anchor one side or the other."

Sandy also praised the defensive play of Sean Sherlock saying, "He was all over the place today."

Coleville, now 6-0 overall, hosts Virginia City next Saturday, which won its division opener 58-0 against McDermitt.

"That one might even be tougher," said Sandy of a Mucker team that can only get better as the players in that first-year program continue to gain experience and confidence.


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