The past two months have been pain staking and frustrating for one of Fallon’s best.
On Friday, though, junior linebacker Evan Bitter made his season debut after suffering a vicious concussion during a passing league tournament in July.
The all-league linebacker was back on the field in a limited capacity as Fallon routed Dayton, 62-7, in a homecoming battle of previous unbeaten Northern Division I-A teams.
“We played well and executed well,” Fallon coach Brooke Hill said. “The kids came out and played the way they are capable of playing. We had some big plays and the defense played really well.”
Bitter and fellow linebacker Riley Williams collided head-to-head leaving the former’s season in serious jeopardy. Bitter returned to the team the next week in support but was not cleared to resume contact until last week.
The past two months were slow going for Bitter as numerous visits to doctors and a neurologist mounted all while he was unable to suit up with his teammates.
I didn’t remember a lot of stuff when I got hit,” he said. “It was tough watching someone play your spot and watching your team. I’m glad to be back.”
Bitter, though, admitted his nerves were shaky before the game, but after several plays he was back in his comfort zone. Hill, however, limited Bitter’s playing time as he rotated series with senior Jordan Schultz, who has been solid in the junior’s absence.
“It was a great experience being back out there,” Bitter said. “I was a little nervous. It was scary what happened there (the concussion), but I’m glad to be back. Right after the first hit, all the jitters go away.”
Despite the nerves, Bitter tallied several tackles as the Greenwave trounced Dayton. The defense held the Dust Devils to three first downs in the first half and 41 total yards of offense.
“We did our assignments,” Bitter said. “We wanted to show them who is the boss. We wanted to take care of business and we did it.”
Fallon senior quarterback Joe Pyle tossed four touchdown passes and was sharp all on night.
He completed 7-of-12 passes for 257 yards and four touchdowns as the Wave (4-0 league, 4-1 overall) remain unbeaten in league play with Elko (4-0).
Fallon’s lightning quick offense wasted little time as the Wave ripped off 28 points in the first quarter and 56 unanswered before Dayton scored.
The Wave started their tsunami of touchdowns with a 68-yard pass from Pyle to Tyler Bagby on the third play of the game. Fallon scored about 4 minutes later when Cameron Matzen took a pitch, cut to the right and broke four tackles en route to a 58-yard TD run.
“We were able to spread the ball around,” Pyle said. “The offensive line did great and gave me a lot of protection and opened up holes. We were able to prepare and took what they gave us.”
Nathan Heck added a 52-yard TD run and Pyle connected with Matzen on a wide receiver screen for an 88-yard TD pass with 52 seconds remaining in the period.
In the second quarter, Pyle found Cameron Beyer for a 9-yard TD pass, Charles Fulks added a 1-yard TD run and Pyle hit Jordan Schultz on a 23-yard pass to give the Wave a commanding 49-0 lead at halftime.
“We exploded tonight and had some big plays,” Hill added. “And our defense played really well. We were prepared for their offense.”
Dayton, meanwhile, was without the league’s leading rusher, Sky Berntson, who was injured last week against Truckee.
The Dust Devils’ running game, though, could not muster any consistency as the speed, skill and scheme of Fallon stuffed Dayton.
“They are good enough to make their own luck,” Dayton coach Rob Turner said. “We had a couple misfires on defense and soon we were in a big old hole.”
Without Bernston, Dayton relied heavily on the trio of Quinn Santana, Julio Meza and John Aguilar. But Fallon’s defensive front was too quick, blowing past blockers and forced four punts.
Dayton also lost a fumble when quarterback Davis Winebarger’s pass to Meza was ruled a lateral and Fallon’s T.J. Mauga recovered.
Winebarger, though, capped Dayton’s lone scoring drive with a 25-yard TD pass to Dallon Mendoza in the fourth quarter.
“Having Skyler (Berntson) out was a big loss for us,” Turner said. “They played a heck of game, so my hats off to them.”
Fallon ran for 222 yards including a team-high 73 yards and two TDs from Heck.
Dayton, meanwhile, was held to 135 yards rushing as Aguilar had a team-high 40 yards Santana ran for 36. Winebarger completed 6-of-10 passes for 49 yards and one TD.
Freshmen bruised by Battle Mountain
The Fallon freshmen football team fell to Battle Mountain, 36-15, last week.
The Longhorns scored 14 points in the first quarter, but Clayton Steelmon’s 75-yard TD cut the lead to seven.
Trailing 22-7 in the third quarter, Matt Goings scored on a 4-yard run after Steelmon return the kickoff 77 yards. Steelmon also had an interception in the second quarter as did Morgan McAlexander.
Dakota Welch also added an interception in the third quarter.