The first half has been Fallon’s savior this season.
The Greenwave football team have rolled early in its three blowout wins. A season ago, Fallon struggled to find the end zone in the first half, relying on big second halves to put away lesser opponents.
This year’s crop, though, step on the throat early and get it over with. As a result, more backups have received playing time, which may come in handy should a rash of injuries suddenly strike.
But the Wave’s biggest test to date will be Friday’s tilt against rival Elko. at 7 p.m. at the Edward Arciniega Complex. The Indians are reborn this season, jumping out to a 3-0 record, tied with Fallon and Lowry for tops in the Northern Division I-A.
Should Fernley beat Spring Creek on Friday, the league playoff spots may be wrapped up. Truckee, South Tahoe, Sparks and Wooster are no threat to the top four, and a Fallon win will leave the Wave with two hurdles remaining — against Fernley and Lowry.
Obviously, the Wave cannot overlook an opponent (see Spring Creek losing to Wooster), but they have too much talent, too much speed and are too physical to be anything but undefeated heading into the season finale at home against Lowry on Nov. 1.
Fernley and Elko, though, still have much to prove and aim to play spoilers. The Vaqueros are familiar with that role after a shocking 7-0 win at Truckee last year to snap the Wolverines’ 41-game winning streak.
Despite a setback against Elko last week, Fernley will be a tough out for Fallon and Lowry. The Wave and Vaqueros’ rivalry has grown the past four seasons and Fallon can ill-afford to overlook its cross-valley rival.
Neverthless, Fallon’s firepower is mindboggling, as is its neighbor to the north, Lowry.
Mental toughness, though, will determine if Fallon can break through and play for a state title. After losing to Tuckee last season, the Wave checked out mentally in the playoffs against Lowry and was throttled, 47-14.
One regular-season loss does not make or break a season, and the prize at the end of the tunnel is much bigger than beating a hated rival. But a focused team, with each unit clicking will be extremely tough to beat.
A chip on the shoulder is a powerful motivator. Hordes of talent up and down the roster makes for an explosive team. Put those together with a refuse-to-lose attitude, and Fallon should see itself playing for the state’s top prize come November.
Steve Puterski is the sports editor for the Lahontan Valley News and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.