Senior running back Yadir Rodriguez returned a kickoff 85 yards for a touchdown to cap the scoring as the Beatty High School football team opened its season with a convincing 34-6 victory over visiting Trona, California, on Sept. 7.
Senior quarterback Jacob Henry scored on runs of 5 and 10 yards, while junior running back Fabian Perez raced 15 and 20 yards for scores for the Hornets.
“It was a good solid first game out,” Beatty coach Leo Verzilli said.
Not much went wrong from the Hornets’ perspective, according to Verzilli, who said the Hornets also capitalized on a few breaks.
“That was probably one of the most one-sided turnover/luck games I’ve ever been involved in,” the coach said. “They muffed a punt, we recovered it. They muffed a kickoff, we recovered it. They made mistakes, we scored off them. We punted once. The one they did return our kickoff team held them inside the 20. Our special teams did well.”
The offense was able to score despite Trona’s ability to take away some of the Hornets’ weapons.
“They did protect the outside fairly well, so we couldn’t get Fabian for any big gains around the ends,” Verzilli explained. “So everything was more inside.”
The Hornets didn’t pass much, but they were effective when they did.
“Jacob had a good night throwing the ball, our receivers ran good routes and were open when they caught the ball,” Verzilli said. “We probably threw about six times, and we had quite a few big gains on those.”
Nothing quite as dramatic as Rodriguez’s kickoff return.
“It was a great setup, great blocking,” Verzilli said. “Yadir caught it on a full run, he hit the hole, and there were four guys behind him before they even knew what happened. He started down the left side and ended up down the right side, and nobody was within 20 yards of him.”
Verzilli also was pleased with the Hornets’ defense, which held the Tornadoes scoreless until it no longer mattered.
“We got the young kids in at the end, so that was good,” he said. “That’s when they got the six. They hit hard, they tackled hard. It was a good test for us.
“Swarming to the ball was excellent. There were times we had seven or eight kids in on the tackles. You didn’t see any white shirts on the field, they were all in the pile. The pursuit, the hustle, they were all there.”
The Hornets originally were to have played Sandy Valley this week, but the Sidewinders again were unable to field a team. For a while, it was an open date on the schedule, but Verzilli found a game.
“We were supposed to have an opening because Sandy Valley dropped out, but we found out some of the smaller schools in Las Vegas are trying to save football, and they’re playing eight-man games,” he said. In one day, Verzilli worked out a game against Mountain View Christian, which was to be played Thursday night in Beatty.
Next up on the schedule for the Hornets is a trip to Alamo to face longtime powerhouse Pahranagat Valley in their Class 1A Southern League opener at 7 p.m. Sept. 21.
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