Sparks (24-1) never trailed and was never really threatened in the lopsided affair. With its first-round win over seventh-seeded Elko, Sparks, the No. 2 seed, advances into a regional semifinal Friday against South Tahoe at 3 p.m. The two semifinal matchups, as well as Saturday's regional final, will be played at Elko High School.
"We're firing on all cylinders and getting better with our touch," Sparks coach Frank Avilla said. "I think we're starting to peak. Elko played very aggressively and our guys kept their cool. I was most proud of the way we were working together and using good through balls.
"We can still play better, especially when it comes to finishing. We emphasize playing a full 40 minutes each half. We are conditioned to play 90 minutes or more. So we need to continue to keep getting better and seeing space."
Kevin Partida and Hector Hernandez hooked up twice for Sparks in the first 18 minutes of action, turning the tide early in the Railroaders' favor. Partida scored in the 14th and 18th minutes forging Sparks ahead 2-0. Hernandez gave away both assists.
"We do struggle to get started sometimes," Avilla said. "We can have lulls. As we keep playing, we must continue to reinforce that we need to start like we did today. Often times, the team that scores first grabs the momentum. Other teams can have a hard time dealing with that."
The 2-0 margin stayed intact into halftime. Elko (11-13-1) did score first after the intermission, managing its lone goal of the postseason affair. Fernando Perez tallied the goal for the Indians thanks to an assist from Brendan Shelley.
The goal allowed Elko to trim the Sparks lead to 2-1, but that as good as it got for the eastern Nevada school. Sparks ripped off four unanswered goals in a 23-minute span to nix any faint upset hopes the Indians may have had.
"There were times when I thought we were in the game," Elko coach Randy Shelley said. "Like when we scored right after halftime to make it 2-1. Then they came back hard. Sparks is just a great team. I have to give Sparks credit. They attack hard and they are hungry to score goals."
Ruben Pacheco started the scoring spree for Sparks when he found the back of the net with an unassisted goal in the 53rd minute. Six minutes later, Juan Hernandez extended the Sparks edge to 4-1 with a goal following a Partida assist.
At the 66-minute mark, Vicente Cervantes scored for Sparks to make it 5-1. Edwin Navarro capped the scoring parade when he scored on a penalty kick in the 76th minute.
Sparks got off 22 shots on goal compared to seven for Elko. Railroaders goalkeeper Renaldo Hernandez recorded six saves.