The Greenwave returned a favor to one of their Northern 3A opponents … two years in the making.
Fallon defeated Spring Creek, 34-10, in the Northern 3A quarterfinals Friday night at the Edward Arciniega Athletic Complex to complete a sweep for the season and end the Spartans’ season. Reverse that from two years ago when Spring Creek defeated Fallon in a regular-season game and then at the Spartans’ field in the playoffs to eliminate the Wave.
The Wave (9-1 overall, 8-0 league regular season) advances to Saturday’s semifinal 3A game by hosting Virgin Valley in a 1 p.m. The Bulldogs defeated longtime rival Moapa Valley, 42-20, on Friday night. Cheyenne, which manhandled Boulder City, hosts Fernley in Las Vegas, on Saturday. Fernley slipped past Truckee 35-28 to advance.
When asked about the payback, Fallon coach Brooke Hill smiled, but senior Brock Richardson said it was a little payback from 2017 when Spring Creek swept Fallon. Fallon posted a 34-28 win at Spring Creek on Aug. 30, and last year, Greenwave throttled the Spartans, 48-6 in a home game.
“Earlier this season we should’ve played them better, but we needed to keep the same type of intensity going in the second half tonight,” he added.
Fallon jumped out to a big first-half lead but saw Spring Creek outscore the Wave in the second half. Spring Creek struggled against the Wave in the first half, falling behind 34-0 at halftime on four Elijah Jackson touchdown passes and Dominyke Edward’s key interception on a Spring Creek drive in the first quarter.
Jackson, who completed 15 of 25 passes for 227 yards, riddled the Spartans’ secondary with four touchdowns in the first half on two short passes and two long bombs, one a 55-yard strike to Richardson and the other a 40-yard pass play to Tommy McCormick. Richardson snared four passes for 104 yards, while McCormick paced the Wave with 10 receptions for 116 yards.
Richardson said the offense clicked in the first half. Hill said the second half slowed down with penalties and the defense being on the field too long.
“We need to clean things up,” Hill said. “We need to focus, but we’ll get better from it.”
Fallon’s first series of the night was drawn to perfection with a balance of passing and rushing plays in a 13-play drive that covered 87 yards. Jackson controlled the tempo with short swing passes to McCormick and Richardson and a 14-yard pass to Edwards. Four plays later, Jackson zeroed in on McCormick for a 5-yard pass. Sam Robertson successfully kicked the extra point after four of five touchdowns.
The big blow came on the Spartans’ next series. After the kickoff pinned the visitors on their 25, Spring Creek rushed the ball twice for 2 yards. On the third play, Fallon’s Thomas Steele flushed Spartans’ quarterback Jeff Guthrie out of the pocket, causing him to throw into Edwards’ hands. The Greenwave defensive back raced down the far sidelines for a 28-yard score with 4:17 left in the quarter.
Fallon’s kickoff pinned Spring Creek on its 27-yard line. The Spartans’ running game showed some life as Guthrie and running back Reed Westwood carried the ball downfield to give Spring Creek excellent field position on the Fallon 16-yard line. The Greenwave defense stiffened to keep Spring Creek from scoring.
Julian Evans made two crucial tackles on Westwood, and on a fourth down from the 20, defensive lineman David Palanivelu tackled Westwood for a 4-yard loss.
Fallon moved quickly and often against Spring Creek on its third drive and first of the second quarter, which began on the Greenwave 23. Once again Jackson alternated his passes between McCormick and Richardson, and he frustrated the Spartans’ front line with his speed.
Levi Andrews also had key runs and finished with 47 yards to lead Fallon.
The Wave caught a break on a late hit when Jackson was tackled out of bounds in front of the Spring Creek bench. The 5-yard penalty moved the ball into Fallon territory. Fallon appeared to lock up another long touchdown throw, but his 44-yard arching throw made on the run found Richardson, but the Fallon receiver was out of the end zone. Undaunted, Jackson guided the Wave down to the 8-yard line before he led McCormick with a pass for Fallon’s third touchdown of the game with 7:33 left in the quarter.
Fallon’s defense pounded Spring Creek on its next drive, limiting the Spartans to 14 yards. A shanked punt sailed out of bounds, and the Wave took over in good field position on their 40-yard line. In four plays, Fallon scored, capped by a 40-yard pass from Jackson to McCormick, who beat the secondary.
Spring Creek started deep on its 10-yard line after the kickoff and moved effectively down the field with Guthrie completing four straight passes before Avery Strasdin picked off the Spartans’ quarterback on the Fallon 22.
In five plays, Fallon scored on a 55-yard pass play from Jackson to Richardson who weaved through the middle before turning on the speed. Fallon couldn’t capitalize on the extra point but took a 34-0 lead into the locker room at halftime.
The Spartans shut out Fallon in the second half. Jackson, who had a long touchdown pass called back because of holding, said he was surprised Spring Creek changed its defense.
“I wanted to get our outside receivers open,” Jackson said.
Spring Creek scored its first and only touchdown 4:27 into the fourth quarter. Boyd blasted through the line for a 10-yard score, and Kyler Lulay booted in the extra point. The Spartans added a 38-yard field goal when Lulay drilled the ball through the uprights with less than 2 minutes left in the game.
Jackson shook off the second half and said he has turned the page to Virgin Valley.
“We need another phenomenal week of practice,” he said. “If we have a phenomenal week, we should come out strong again.”
Fallon came away from the game with few injuries; Edwards rolled his ankle and didn’t play in the second half.
“He’s the physical defensive leader,” Hill pointed out. “Not having him in took away from our defense, and the other guys need to step up.”
Hill said he expects Edwards to be ready for Saturday’s game.