Speed kills and the Fallon football team has tons of it.
The Greenwave continued their dominating ways Friday with a 49-6 drubbing over rival Fernley.
Fallon, which clinched a playoff berth in the Northern Division I-A, has home-field advantage in sight. With a pair of wins, or even a loss by less than 14 point to Lowry, the Wave would lock up their first home playoff game in decades.
Home field in the playoffs is a treat, especially since the southern schools rarely play in cold weather. It makes a difference in their performance and mindset.
But that’s weeks away.
In the moment, Fallon is currently the class of the North and has so many weapons opposing teams cannot defend, even if they are offense or special teams. It’s a complete team and everyone has bought in.
Morgan Dirickson has come up big in the Wave’s biggest games. He lit up Elko for 440 yards and seven TDs — a season for many high school signal callers — and dropped 287 yards and four TDs on Fernley. His running mate in the backfield, Trent Tarner, doesn’t have the gaudy stats, but is a home-run threat every time he touches the ball.
Tarner’s production has taken a hit due to blowouts and sophomore newcomer Cameron Matzen, who returns punts for TDs at will. Why any team still kicks to him is a mystery. Matzen has taken seven punts back for scores and it will be no surprise if he ends up with double digits by season’s end.
If an opponent stops those three — a big if — there are receivers Tyler Bagby, Beau Marshall and an emerging Bradlee Porter to deal with.
But perhaps the most improved area has been on the defensive side of the ball. Starting three sophomores, the unit has gelled and suffocated opposing offenses. The physical, punishing style of rushing attacks don’t work. Trying to get to the corner, no dice, the speed and hunger is too relentless.
Teams have tried to throw the ball, but Justin Hatfield, Dakota Schelling and Bradlee Stands are sack machines. When opposing QB’s do avoid the rush, they have to deal with linebackers Evan Bitter and Rylie Williams and defensive back Matzen — those three sophomores — plus Nathan Heck, Bagby and Tarner in coverage. As one could imagine, little success is found through the air.
Of course, the constant blowouts are nice, and one wonders how this club will do in a tight game, say, a state semifinal or title game? They should be fine with a senior QB with experience in a tight situation.
But there is a different feeling about this club. They are similar to the team in 2011 that was inches away from shocking Truckee and playing for the state title.
They have the focus, the confidence and the coaching to be a favorite for the title. A regular season loss or a bad quarter or two during the playoffs is nothing to dwell on, if it should happen. Again, that’s a big if.
Steve Puterski is the sports editor for the Lahontan Valley News and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.