Forget one if by land, two if by sea. How about seven by air?
In a surgical performance, Fallon quarterback Morgan Dirickson engineered a game for the ages on Friday at the Edward Arciniega Complex.
The senior gunslinger was just that, as he shredded the Elko defense to the tune of 440 passing yards and seven touchdowns as Fallon won, 48-20, in a battle of unbeaten teams. The Greenwave improve to 4-0 in the Northern Division I-A, while Elko falls to 3-1.
“We’ve known all year we had the potential to throw the ball,” Fallon coach Brooke Hill said. “We’ve shown signs all year. We didn’t have the defense and special team scores so we could generate some offense. Morgan was on and when that’s happening it’s pretty tough to stop.”
Dirickson, who completed 16 of 23 passes, was not a solo act. Junior receiver Tyler Bagby ran wild as he hauled in a team-high, career-best six receptions for 251 yards and two TDs. Sophomore sensation Cameron Matzen added three TDs on five catches for 113 yards, and Beau Marshall chipped in with three receptions for 49 yards and one TD.
“We knew it was a big game … and what was at stake,” Dirickson said. “For the first time all season, we really got in a groove. Between a good week of practice and getting in rhythm, I think it really led us.”
In what was expected to be a rugged slugfest, Fallon’s athleticism dominated from the start. Elko, meanwhile, could not get out of its own way in the first quarter, which was all the Wave needed.
Indians running back David Jackson was ejected on the second play of the game after he threw a punch that connected with Matzen’s helmet. Jackson will miss this week’s game against Lowry.
Elko’s flurry of penalties buried its offense and gave Fallon’s unit life. After Matzen weaved his way 73 yards for the game’s first score, a personal foul by Elko put Fallon on the Indians’ 41-yard line.
Running Trent Tarner scampered for 31 yards, and Dirickson threw a jump ball for Marshall in the corner of the end zone for a 14-0 lead.
“We knew they were going to be in man coverage, so we had to take advantage of that,” Bagby said.
Bagby and Matzen, meanwhile, were too fast for the Indians’ secondary. Bagby raced past the secondary for the Wave’s third score — a 27-yarder — and outran the defense on a seam route for a 74-yard score to open the second quarter.
Just for good measure, Bagby added a 73-yard interception return to set up the Wave’s final score of the first half.
“I got the pick … and I tried breaking it, but a kid got me by the ankle,” Bagby said. “I tried to make something out of nothing.”
Matzen added to his growing TD total (12 to date) and hauled in two second quarter scores to push Fallon’s lead to 41-13 at halftime.
“Whenever you have success like that, it takes off some pressure,” Dirickson said.
Defensively, the Wave matched Elko’s physical style and shut down its power running game. With the loss of Jackson, Elko relied Jordan Walthers, who tallied 16 carries for 92 yards and Jason Wilson added 53 yards.
Once Fallon extended the lead to 27-13, Elko started using its passing attack more frequently. The Indians, though, were stymied by Fallon’s pass rush and stingy secondary.
Elko quarterback Connor Altenburg connected on 7 of 17 passes for 133 yards with one TD and one interception. Fallon’s Dakota Schelling tallied a team-high 12 tackles followed by Decco Carter (10), Rylie Williams (nine) and Justin Hatfield (eight).
“Overall, I thought our defense played real well,” Hill said. “They caught us on one … that was more of my call. We’ve been real consistent on that side of the ball all year.”