Rolland Grondin rushed for 181 yards and scored three touchdowns, and quarterback Bryce Adams picked apart the Lowry defense with 152 yards to lead Fallon to 41-7 Northern 3A win Friday at the Edward Arciniega Athletic Complex.
With the win, the Greenwave will host Lowry in the first round of the playoffs on Thursday at 6 p.m. The two top teams, league-winner Truckee and second-place Elko, have first-round byes.
Fallon finished the regular season 6-3 overall and 5-2 league; Lowry was 3-6 and 2-5.
Although the schedules calls for the playoffs to feature Lowry traveling back to Fallon, Grondin warned his teammate it’s not “just” another game. He said Fallon doesn’t want a 2022 repeat when the Wave defeated Spring Creek during the regular season but lost to the same team in the first round of the playoffs.
“This is a new team,” Grondin said of Lowry. He then set the mindset. “We’ve never seen this team before.”
Coach Brooke Hill said Fallon needs to play better by eliminating some of the mental errors and offensive holding.
“We gave up that one big play on defense,” Hill said of Lowry’s 77-yard touchdown pass.
Adams found his favorite target Brady Alves for a first-quarter touchdown, and Grondin rushed for a 25-yard score to give Fallon a 14-0 lead.
After a 13-8 loss at Elko the week before, Grondin said the Greenwave had to step up against Lowry.
“We had to get back on track,” Grondin said, while praising the offensive line. “Our good offensive line is really pushing (against the opponent’s defense).”
The Fallon running back had another stellar game by rushing for 181 yards on 21 carries and scoring three touchdowns.
“The running game is doing well. Rolland has had a strong year,” Hill said.
The Wave had a 26-0 lead on another Adams to Alves pass for 14 yards and Grondin barreled over from the 14-line yard line.
Lowry’s opening series set the tone for the game.
The Buckaroos took the opening kickoff and completed only four plays. On a first and 10 from their 40, Lowry fumbled and the Greenwave’s Cayden McKnight pounced on a fumble, his first of two recoveries for the night.
McKnight credits his timing to fellow middle linebacker Manuel Karaway with their pressure on the Lowry offensive line. Their key was watching how the offensive line pulled.
“Manny and I work well together. When they pull it gives us a fast read,” McKnight said of the Buckaroos.
The Wave put together a 10-play drive in the first quarter capped by Adams 15-yard pass to Alves.
Fallon’s defense stopped Lowry in its next possession. The Wave needed only two downs for Grondin to break several tackles on the left side for a 25-yard run to the end zone. Adams connected to Alves for the 2-point conversion for a 14-0 lead.
The Greenwave offense wasn’t ready to take it easy on Lowry in the second quarter.
With a minute expired in the second half, Adams rolled left to complete a touchdown pass to Alves for a 20-0 lead.
The defense and McKnight stymied the Buckaroos again, and Lowry fumbled on its 32.
In addition to his two fumble recoveries, McKnight also picked off a pass.
“He’s doing what a senior should do. He’s stepped up this year,” Hill said of McKnight. “He calls the defense and we’re on the same page, and he understands what I want.”
Grondin’s 14-yard run to the left side gave the Wave a 26-0 lead. The conversion was no good.
The Buckaroos took advantage of a breakdown in the Lowry scored late in the second half on a 77-yard pass from Joseph Vankuiken to Anthony Guzman.
On a third and 8 from the 22, Guzman’s pattern took him toward the Lowry bench where he stretched for Vankuiken’s pass. Guzman spun around and sprinted toward the end zone. Rigoberto Esquivel kicked the extra point with a minute left before halftime.
Fallon scored twice in the final quarter on Grondin’s 2-yard run and Garrett Rasmussen’s 10-yard scamper.
Trevor Hyde’s PAT kick put an exclamation mark on Fallon’s win.
Except for the lone Lowry touchdown, Hill said Fallon played well on both sides of the ball. The emphasis will be on the defense for the rest of the season.
“The defense has been strong most of the year,” Hill said. “We had a lapse for about 15 minutes in the middle of the game against Truckee.”
Hill, though, said the focus now is to move up the playoff bracket each week
Adams threaded the ball 14-of-19 attempts to Alves and Baylor Sandberg. He finished with 152 yards passing, while Alves snagged 12 of those passes for 146 yards, and Sandberg snared a pair of receptions for 6 yards. Seven players carried the ball for Fallon with Grondin and Ethan Tarner doing most of the damage.
Lowry 0 7 0 0 — 7
Fallon 14 12 0 15 — 41
F: Alves 15 pass from Adams
F: Grondin 25 run (Alves pass from Adams)
F: Alves 14 pass from Adams.
F: Grondin 14 run
L: Guzman 77 pass from Vankuiken (Esquivel kick)
F: Grondin 2 run
F: Alves 3 pass from Adams
F: Rasmussen 10 run (Hyde kick)