Back to state: Defense forces 3 turnovers in upset win over North Valleys, state semifinal date with Moapa Valley

Fallon coach Brooke Hill high-fives senior Jace Nelson after Saturday’s win over North Valleys.

Fallon coach Brooke Hill high-fives senior Jace Nelson after Saturday’s win over North Valleys.
Photo by Thomas Ranson.

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RENO — The defense stepped up against the best scoring offense in the league, setting up a last-minute, game-winning touchdown as the Greenwave football team upset No. 1 North Valleys, 21-14, on the road on Saturday.
The win sends Fallon to Saturday afternoon’s state semifinal at Moapa Valley while the loss ended North Valleys’ undefeated season, which included wins over Elko, competing in the other state semifinal, and 3A powerhouse Truckee.

“It’s big. It’s a credit to my coaches and my kids to overcome the adversity and trust us that we’ll get you in a position to win. And we got them there,” Fallon coach Brooke Hill said.

Kickoff is at 1 p.m. and the game will be broadcast by Larry Barker and Randy Beeghly on KKTU 99.5 FM and available online at Elko is hosting Virgin Valley in the other semifinal with both winners advancing to the state championship on Nov. 20 at Reno High School.

Thomas Ranson / LVN
Fallon’s Brody Jacks scores the game-winning touchdown with six seconds left in the game as the Greenwave upset North Valleys on Saturday.


After no state competitions were contested last season due to Covid, Saturday’s win gives Fallon its third-straight trip to the state semifinal after the Greenwave won it all in 2019 before losing to Fernley in 2019’s championship. This year, though, marks the first time under Hill that Fallon will not host the semifinal.

This year’s semifinal, though, will be another test for the defense.

Moapa Valley leads the state with nearly 40 points scored per game. The Pirates are one of the more balanced teams in the state, too, as they can attack on the ground and in the air.

“We’ve overcome bigger obstacles this year and we’ll try to overcome this one and go 1-0,” Hill said. “We’ll approach it the same way (as if Fallon were hosting). We’re about consistency. We just have to battle.”

Despite giving up a couple of big plays in the second half and being on the field twice as much as the offense, the Greenwave defense was solid, forcing two fumbles and picking off one pass. The special teams unit also recovered a fumble in the second quarter. North Valleys, which averaged 35 points per game during the season, was shut out in the first half.

After Fallon’s offense stalled on North Valleys’ 4-yard line when second-string quarterback Bryce Adam’s pass to Jace Nelson fell incomplete, the defense shut down the Panthers. Quarterback Cameron Zeidler was sacked on the first play but picked up 7 yards on a third-and-12, but North Valleys punted from its own 9. The punt didn’t go far, giving Fallon the ball on the Panthers’ 28-yard line with a minute left in the game.

The drive started with a false start but after Brody Jacks recovered most of the penalized yards, Adams found Tyler Austin for a 23-yard game to the 2-yard line. On the next play, Jacks found a hole created by Nelson on the left side, scoring untouched with six seconds left in the game. Austin finished the game with 102 yards on five receptions.

“Everyone was telling me to do it for the seniors and for everyone who can’t play right now. Everybody did their job on that play,” Jacks said. “The second I crossed, I was so happy. I knew we had to go back on defense, but I figured my defense would do pretty well, and they did.”

A last-ditch effort on the final play of the game from North Valleys failed as multiple Panthers lateralled, sealing the upset victory for the Greenwave.

Thomas Ranson / LVN
The Greenwave football team begins celebrating after upsetting North Valleys in Saturday’s state-clinching victory.


Filling in for starter Keaton Williams, Adams was effective, completing 10-of-18 passes for 168 yards and one touchdown — a midfield strike to Steven Moon in the second quarter.

“Nothing ever felt better,” said Adams, who led his FYFL team to the Collegiate title two years ago. “I had my guys behind me and that’s all I needed. We had to fight for a lot of things. We knew it was going to be a dogfight.”

For North Valleys, Zeidler threw for 158 yards on 10-of-16 passes but ran for 127 yards on 23 carries, including the Panthers’ only touchdowns. Half of his rushing yards came on a 63-yard third-quarter touchdown run. Aaron Ingebretson was his favorite target in the air as he hauled in four receptions for 92 yards.

“We had a good start so we got up on them. The Zeidler kid is tough to stop and he got loose twice on us and scored,” Hill said. “I told the kids that it was going to happen: he’s too good of a player and for us to not get down when he does. We were able to do enough offensively with a sophomore quarterback to grind it out.”

Fallon struck first in the game with Roland Grondin and Moon leading Fallon to a 14-0 lead at halftime.

After the defense forced North Valleys to turn the ball over on downs when Tristan Hill broke up Zeidler’s pass on fourth-and-nine from Fallon’s 23, Fallon orchestrated a 10-play opening drive that benefited from a pair of North Valleys’ defensive encroachment penalties.

Jacks and Grondin shared running duties with Jacks picking Fallon’s initial first down followed by Grondin’s 15-yard run that put Fallon into North Valleys territory. Adams’ lone pass completion set up third-and-one on the 21 but Jacks scampered for a 21-yard game to set up Fallon on the 12-yard line. Jacks finished with 91 yards on 21 carries.

The Panthers stopped Grondin for a 3-yard loss on second down, putting Fallon on the 10 for a third-and-eight. A defensive penalty moved the ball up 5 yards and Grondin found the end zone for a 5-yard score to break a scoreless tie with 1 minute, 59 seconds left. The PAT was not successful.

The defense responded on the next drive, with Colton Tousignant forcing Trae Sudduth to fumble the ball with 24 seconds left in the first quarter. Fallon, though, went three-and-out with Moon punting on fourth-and-seven. Nathaniel Monticelli, though, fumbled the low punt against the wind with Jacks falling on the ball. Three plays later, Adams Moon for a long, 45-yard touchdown strike in the second quarter. A two-point conversion pass to Nelson gave Fallon a 14-0 lead with 10:20 remaining.

North Valleys couldn’t find any offensive rhythm in the first half, fumbling again on the fourth play of the ensuing series with 9:02 left. The next two series, though, resulted in both teams punting before North Valleys threatened in Greenwave territory with less than a left to go in the half. With the ball on the 38, Zeidler’s pass was intercepted by Moon.

“We’re just excited to get a shot at state,” said Xavier Capton, one of the senior defenders. “Our team is just together. We play for each other.”

The Panthers came out in the second half with a quick punch when Zeidler broke free for a 63-yard touchdown run on the first play to slice Fallon’s lead in half to 14-7 with 8:14 to go.

After forcing a Fallon punt, North Valleys chewed up the clock with its second-scoring drive starting on its 1-yard line with 3:13 left in the third quarter. The 14-play drive resulted from a key long-play conversion on second down after Fallon sacked Zeidler for 11 yards. On second-and-21 from the 50, Zeidler found Jarret Rank for 29 yards to set up Zeidler’s 17-yard touchdown run to tie the game at 14 with 9:57 remaining in the game.

“We’re a high-caliber defense. We’re flying around,” Grondin said. “We flip the page. We’re really good at that. Coach Hill has been driving that in our heads to flip the next page and get to the next play.”
North Valleys wouldn’t score again.


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