Some losses are tougher than others. The 2016 Sparks Railroaders can now testify to that.
Leading 13-10 in overtime at Elko on Friday night, Sparks forced Elko into a third and goal from the 17. A stop would’ve resulted in a win. A field goal would’ve forced a second overtime. A disaster would’ve made the long bus ride even longer.
Elko called a timeout and dialed up a double pass. It worked. Sparks fell to 1-2, 1-2 in the 3A North with a 16-13 loss. Elko improved to 3-0, 3-0.
“I’d rather spend 10 hours at the dentist than lose like that,” Sparks coach Rob Kittrell said.
Sparks got the ball first in overtime (each team gets the ball at the 10-yard line) and faced a fourth and goal from the two. Kittrell called a play to go for it, but a delay of game penalty forced Kittrell’s hand.
Carlos Rodriguez hit the 25-yard field goal to give Sparks a 13-10 edge. He also hit a 34-yarder at the end of the first half put the Railroaders in front, 10-7.
Rodriguez was accountable for all of Sparks’ points, scoring the team’s lone touchdown in the first quarter, on defense. He returned the first of his three interceptions 25 yards to pay dirt, spotting Sparks a 7-0 advantage.
The Railroaders were without week one starting quarterback Nick Van Patten for the second straight week. Van Patten suffered a concussion at the end of the first half in the season-opening home loss to South Tahoe.
It doesn’t get any easier for the Railroaders, who are at home on Friday against Spring Creek (3-0, 3-0). The Spartans have outscored their three opponents (Lowry, South Tahoe, Dayton) 148-40 this year.