The Serpents raced out to a 16-6 halftime lead Friday evening in Hawthorne, but couldn’t hold on after the break and dropped their first game of the season 34-26 to the Muckers.
“We came out flat in the second half plain and simple,” said Mineral County coach Curt McElroy. “We went into the locker room with a 10 point lead at half and came out and got beat. It’s tough.”
After letting up an early touchdown in the first quarter, the Serpent defense went to work and didn’t allow another point to the high powered Virginia City offense the rest of the half. Tyshawn Bonner and Tristan Reynolds got Mineral County on the board with touchdowns in the second quarter as the Serpents went into the break with a comfortable lead.
But Virginia City made adjustments in the third quarter and went on to outscore the home team 26-0 over a 12 minute stretch to take a 32-16 lead. Bonner went on to score from eight yards out in the fourth, but the lead was too much to overcome.
“We had these guys on the ropes, and shut them down early,” McElroy said. “We had so many costly penalties at critical times it was unbelievable. Virginia City played well though. It’s always a great game when these two schools meet.”
The loss drops Mineral County to 3-1 overall, and they have another critical conference matchup Saturday afternoon at Smith Valley. The Bulldogs (2-3) come into the game on the heels of a 46-14 loss at Coleville, but will provide a tough test for a Serpent team that has struggled in the third quarter its last two games.
“I still feel confident about our team, we just need to put four quarters together,” McElroy said. “The kids have had a different attitude in practice this week, and are determined to go and get the job done Saturday.”
Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. Saturday at Smith Valley High School. The Serpents travel to Pyramid Lake the following week before returning home for its final two games of the season against Whittell and Coleville later this month.