Sterling Nevada spring game: Blue displays mettle vs. Silver

Tahoe Onstage
Carson Strong and the Nevada football team’s Silver and Blue game is a colorful occasion.
Michael Smyth / Tahoe Onstage

The Nevada Wolf Pack may bleed its team colors, but when it all came out in the wash, Blue stood out with 42-36 victory in Saturday’s Silver and Blue spring game at Mackay Stadium.

The Blue team consisted of the projected starters. The Silver was a mix of backups and underclassman. Quarterbacks and special teams were interchangeable for both teams. Silver was spotted 30 points to begin the game. There was a running clock in the second half. “I think I handicapped the game pretty good,” head coach Jay Norvell said. “It came down to the last drive which is what we wanted to see. I’m really pleased with the effort.” No matter which team they were on, several players opened eyes on the field. Cristian Solano, Nevada’s likely starting quarterback, threaded the needle on a 75-yard touchdown pass for the Blue that was just out of reach of two Wolf Pack defensive backs. The senior signal caller completed 13-of-17 passes for 169 yards Junior quarterback Malik Henry took what the defense gave him. The television star of “Last Chance U” star went through his progressions and settled for dump offs in the flats or wide receiver screens. Henry showcased his mobility as well, scrambling out of the pocket to keep the chains moving.
Carson Strong passes on the run with coach Jay Norvell watching.
Redshirt freshman Carson Strong made quite the impression. The 6-foot-4 quarterback kept his composure in the pocket and fit the ball into tight windows with great accuracy and precision. Strong fueled a Blue team second half comeback and stole the lead with 1:13 left to play. Norvell is impressed with the quarterbacks. “I thought they all did what they’ve been doing all spring he said. “Some guys made really good plays and they weren’t sharp in other areas. I thought they all did some really good things.” Wide receivers Elijah Cooks and Romeo Doubs had two touchdowns apiece. The dynamic duo helped take the top off the defense with speed off the line of scrimmage and creating separation down the field. “My whole goal for coming into this was being more consistent,” Cooks said. “Last year, I was dropping balls every once in a while so this game was great for me.” Senior linebacker Maliek Broady forced a fumble in the first quarter to give the Silver great field position. Broady lived in the backfield and laid the boom on running back Kelton Moore in the second quarter. Defensively, the Blue forced six turnovers, including two forced fumbles. “I thought we did great as a whole,” Broady said. “We played a little sloppy at the start, but I’m impressed with how we rebounded. An estimated 300 fans attended the game on a cloudless 74-degree day. Wide reciever Melquan Stovall put the Silver ahead 36-0 with a 17-yard touchdown in the first quarter. Solano’s quarterback keeper at the goal line gave the blue team its first points of the game. Led by Strong, Blue struck again in the second quarter with a 19-yard touchdown to Cooks. Henry found Doubs for an 18-yard score with 42 seconds remaining in the first half. Silver team led 36-21 at the intermission. Salono and Doubs connected on a 75-yard bomb to open the second half for the blue team. Cooks recorded his second touchdown of the day from 22 yards out. Crishaun Leppin’s five-yard scamper to the end zone capped 42 unanswered points for the blue team. The Wolf Pack will make its regular season debut against the Purdue Boilermakers on Aug. 30. Note: Former Nevada linebacker Malik Reed signed with the Denver Broncos as an undrafted free agent on Saturday. Reed had 8 sacks for the Wolf Pack last season.

— Isaiah Burrows\

Elijah Cooks burns it down the field.
Quarterback Cristian Solano scores untouched.
Michael Smyth / Tahoe Onstage
Malik Henry shows off his mobility.
Toa Taua rips around the right side.
 
Dom Peterson bats down Carson Strong’s pass.
Blue 42, Silver 36 Scoring                                                 S              B (Silver started with 30-0 lead) McClure to Stovall                           36           0 Solano 1 run                                       36           7 Cooks 25 pass from Strong           36           14 Doubs 18 pass from Henry           36           21 Doubs 68 pass from Solano (2-pt)              36           29 Cooks 20 pass from Strong (failed)           36           35 Lappin 5 run                                       36           42 Offensive Leaders Rushing Taua 10-40; Moore 8-29; Booze 8-26; Neal 7-24. Passing Solano 13-17-169; Strong 18-26-195; Henry 16-28-211 Receiving Cooks 9- 173; Christian 8-85; Fossum 6-81; Doubs 4-151; Taua 3-33 Defensive Leaders Tackles Lamin Touray 7; Daiyan Henley 5; Jaden Lewis 5; Maliek Broady 5; Isaiah Hamilton 4; Jordan Lee 4, Dom Peterson 3.

ABOUT Isaiah Burrows

Isaiah Burrows
Tahoe Onstage sportswriter Isaiah Burrows also is a general assignment reporter for CarsonNow.org, an online news source in Carson City. He is a journalism major at the University of Nevada, Reno, where is the sports editor of the Sagebrush student newspaper. He is the Reno Aces beat writer for Tahoe Onstage.

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