RENO — The third trip to the state championship game in four years resulted in disappointment yet again for Mountain View’s football team.
Unbeaten Yerington capitalized on Saints mistakes and rolled to a 42-19 win in the Division III state championship game at Damonte Ranch.
“We got ourselves in a hole, and we knew we had to take some risks,” Mountain View coach Mike Valenzuela said. “It paid off sometimes, and sometimes they made us pay for taking risks.”
Yerington quarterback Josh Lauderdale ran for three touchdowns, and Reese Neville rushed for 213 yards and two scores on eight carries.
The Saints (10-2), who lost the Class 2A title game in 2010 and the Division III championship game last year, trailed 30-0 before cutting into the final margin.
The championship was the first for Yerington (11-0) since 1981.
“For a community and a school and especially our kids, it’s quite a moment for them,” Yerington coach Cody Neville said. “To finally become a reality, it’s almost heart-stopping.”
Yerington took command with a 21-point second quarter, which included two scores by Lauderdale and a 68-yard touchdown run by Neville.
A 7-yard interception return for a touchdown by Dakota Thompson on Mountain View’s first offensive play of the second half put the Saints in a 30-0 hole.
“That team was fundamentally better than us today,” Valenzuela said. “They have some good athletes. If you lose your fundamentals, they make some plays on you, like the pick six and the long runs.”
Lauderdale’s third touchdown, a 9-yard run in the fourth quarter, came after an 86-yard run by Neville.
While Yerington was breaking big plays, the Saints were struggling to get started.
Their best play in the first half was a 29-yard run by Matthew Larson on a fake punt, but Neville intercepted Ian Locke two plays later.
Trailing 16-0, the Saints lost three yards on a fourth-and-2 play from their 35-yard line, and four plays later Lauderdale ran in from 13 yards.
Yerington started slowly but got on the board first when Locke threw the ball out of the back of the end zone while being tackled by Tylor Thomas.
“Unfortunately it was a couple missed assignments,” Valenzuela said. “The guy who got that safety was supposed to be accounted for. The guy just missed his assignment.”
A 52-yard touchdown run by Locke and a 28-yard touchdown to Noah Van Kempen cut Yerington’s lead to 30-12, and Locke hit Jacob Duldulao for a 16-yard score with four seconds left.
“This is why this team has won 21 games the last two years, because they’ve got a lot of fight and a lot of pride,” Valenzuela said. “They knew the game was decided, but they still enjoyed the fight, and they wanted to compete to the very end.”