SPARKS — For the consecutive second year, the Reed Raiders had their hands full with the Fallon Greenwave.
The Raiders held off the Wave Friday night in a nonleague football game in Sparks by breaking a tie for a 23-16 win. Fallon has a bye this week before traveling to Galena on Sept. 1. A home game slotted for Friday night in Fallon was cancelled.
Reed, though, also won the season opener last year by rallying for a 34-28 victory last year in Fallon. After the Wave tied the game at the Edward Arciniega Athletic Complex, the Raiders’ senior cornerback Spencer Firebaugh scooped up a shanked punt and ran the ball back for 34-yards with 28 seconds remaining in the game.
The Wave was the team that rallied in the second half of Friday’s game to tie the Raiders at 16 in Friday’s game, but Reed had one gasp of air left in their final series. After stopping Fallon late in the fourth quarter, Reed took over on the Greenwave 29-yard line. Then, in the Wave’s final series, Fallon moved the ball down to the 20 on Roland Grondin’s 31 yards on four carries. On a third and 6 from the 20, Fallon quarterback Bryce Adams threw an incomplete pass, and fourth down, the snap sailed over the backfield.
On Reed’s first play, running back Bronwyn Rios ripped through the middle for a 29-yard run. The PAT was good to give the Raiders a seven-point lead with 2:39 left on the clock.
“We had the lead but gave it up,” said Greenwave coach Brooke Hill. “We have to play cleaner (in execution),” Hill pointed out. “We had a touchdown called back, and we marched down the length of the field and didn’t get the points.”
Yet, it has been Hill’s philosophy to play one, if not two, tougher and larger teams so he and the coaches can assess the Greenwave play on both sides of the ball.
“We physically played well with one of the top teams in Nortehrn Nevada,” Hill said. “The kids played hard.”
Reed’s ground game, though, tested Fallon. The Raiders grounded out 290 yards on the ground to test the Greenwave defense compared to Fallon’s 115 yards. Greenwave running back Roland Grondin had 109 yards of that total. He also led the defense with nine tackles.
The first three quarters like the final 12 minutes indicated the nonleague game would be a battle between two highly powered offenses and stingy defenses.
After both teams failed to put up any points on the scoreboard in the first two drives, the Fallon defense boxed Reed in, and on a first and 10 from their own 4, the Raiders fumbled and Fallon pounced the ball the end zone for a safety with 5:33 left in the quarter.
Reed took a 6-2 lead with a touchdown and then a field goal in the second quarter. Rios, who gave Fallon’s defense fits with 224 yards rushing, raced for 50 yards down the sideline to score the Raiders’ first touchdown. Reed failed on the extra point.
Fallon took over on its 2-yard line after the kickoff. Adam’s pass found Baylor Sandberg, who caught three passes for 29 yards in the game) for a 16-yard gain. Two incomplete passes forced Fallon to punt.
Both teams defenses took over for the final 3:06. The Raiders had one last drive of eight plays resulting in a 1-yard field goal from Ayden Sawyer.
The Wave’s defense added an exclamation mark to Reed’s first series in the third quarter.
On the third play from scrimmage, Fallon’s Brady Alves intercepted the ball and ran 48-yards with 94 seconds into the quarter. Fallon attempted a 2-point conversion, but Reed’s defense broke up the pass.
Reed’s offense responded again marched down the field in nine plays capped by quarterback’s Nishann Bajwa’s 5-yard quarterback keeper. Sawyer’s boot was good as Reed doubled the scored 16-8 at the 5:46 mark.
Bajwa threaded the ball for 73 yards on 11 passes.
Fallon tied the game early in the fourth. Adams connected with Alves for a 32-yard pass and then a 2-point conversion, also to Alves.
Hill said Alves played well on both sides of the ball.
“He got a pick 6, but he had another touchdown called back,” Hill said. “That’s what we expect. He’s a senior.”
Alves hauled in four passes for 64 yards from Adams, who completed 20 of 30 passes for 173 yards.
“I think I had a pretty good game,” Alves said. “On defense I knew what to do. I saw the corners on the film.”