It didn’t take long for the Greenwave to convince me that they’re for real this season.
After getting my first live look at Brooke Hill’s football program last week against Sparks, it’s hard for me to believe that Fallon will not finish the season as the best team in the region.
With a 41-point thrashing against Sparks on the road, Fallon can rely on each of the three phases to give them points. If the offense can’t get it rolling, then leave it to the defense to make a stop. If having the ball 40 yards away isn’t good enough, just call on the special teams to either block the punt or give the ball to a sophomore who can seemingly score anytime the ball falls into his hands.
The Greenwave is stronger and more complete than last year’s team that went undefeated during the first two-thirds of the season. The defense is one of the best Fallon has put onto the field and even though it was Sparks, the Greenwave’s stop on the Railroaders’ second possession continued the tone from the first game of the year.
After Sparks broke loose in the first quarter to put the ball 5 yards away from the end zone, Fallon stepped up. What, though, crossed those 11 defenders’ minds? Was it the possibility of seeing a team take the lead for the first time against Fallon this season? Was it allowing a touchdown to the worst team in the division?
Fallon regained its focus as if it were playing Lowry and not only prevented Sparks from scoring but forced the home team to lose yards and miss a long field goal.
But the defense is only one ingredient to Fallon’s recipe to success as the Greenwave travels to Spring Creek tonight.
The special teams are extremely dangerous with Cameron Matzen returning punt returns to the end zone. Donovan Marshall’s strong leg is an asset for long field goals, but he misfired on two PATs during the game.
Matzen nearly had a punt return for a touchdown in the first quarter against Sparks but came back stronger to return the next one for the score. It amazed me that Sparks even kicked to him knowing that he’s an electric return specialist. Just punt the ball out of bounds.
The offense continued to roll and put the game away by halftime.
These lightning-quick scoring drives put points up for the Greenwave in a matter of minutes, especially when all but one scoring drive lasted less than three plays against the Railroaders.
Pick your poison because Trent Tarner can run all over you or Morgan Dirickson will launch the ball 50 yards in the air where his receivers are nearly 5 yards ahead of the defender. It just looks too easy.
But a key stretch of the season begins tonight with the Spartans as they have surprised the region with their winning record. It doesn’t get any easier until playoffs. Fernley, for example, comes to town next week for Homecoming before Fallon travels to Truckee. Lowry visits next month for the season finale.
The next three weeks will see a closer margin but after watching Fallon destroy Sparks and reading about Northern Division I-A after every week’s contests, the Greenwave should stay undefeated. Injuries doomed last year’s team during the final stretch but Fallon has more depth this season, with the second string seeing many snaps in the second half.
I’m not trying to put the Sports Illustrated cover kiss of death on the Greenwave’s season. Fallon looks unstoppable and none of the remaining games is likely to be closer than a 14-point margin. This team is dangerous and for the first time since the 1970s, the Greenwave might have all the pieces in place to bring home a state title.
Thomas Ranson can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.