1 DOWN, 1 TO GO | NevadaAppeal.com

1 DOWN, 1 TO GO

Commentary by Steve Ranson
sranson@lahontanvalleynews.com

Greenwave fans have waited for more than a quarter of a century to see their beloved football team play for a state title.

With Fallon's 34-24 win against visiting Moapa Valley four days ago, the team can repeat history from the late 1970s.

It's been 35 years since the Wave won a state championship on the gridiron. Fallon's game on Saturday against Faith Lutheran could be history in the making for the Greenwave since 1976-78 when Fallon won three straight AA titles. Ten years later during the 1988 season, second-year coach Chris Klenakis and his staff put together a "Green Machine" that breezed through the conference schedule, only to hit a roadblock at season's end.

Fallon began the 1988 season similar to that of the 2013 campaign, reeling of eight straight wins until Elko surprised the Wave, 20-0, in the final regular season Northern AA game. Fallon developed its character as the "in-your-face" team with guts and stamina to win its first game at Bishop, Calif., 8-7, and then the following week against Lassen Union High School from Susanville, 10-6.

Fallon coach Brooke Hill was a member of that 1988 team and during the first game, he and his teammates established a benchmark for the rest of the season.

Fallon also had a battle during the season against perennial powerhouse and longtime rival Manogue, grabbing a 14-13 victory.

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The Miners, though, would gain revenge in the zone playoffs. On a cool, early November night at the old Bradley Field, the Miners dashed Fallon's hopes to play at Moapa Valley for the state title with a stinging 12-7 defeat, a heartbreaking loss for a team that had come so far in just one season.

Advance to 2013, and the Greenwave controls its own destiny to win the coveted trophy signifying the best of the 1-A.

The road to Saturday's championship game followed a similar path as did 1988, but Fallon began the season strong, blowing out opponents by four or more touchdown. After a drubbing of Elko early in the season at the Edward Arcinega Athletic Complex, the "I gotta believe" feeling started sweeping over the high school and Churchill County. After several misses of advancing to the title game in 2011 and last year, could this be Fallon's year to win it all?

John Dirickson, whose son, Morgan, plays quarterback, said the 2011 team had heart. After Saturday's 10-point win against Moapa Valley, we can also say the 2013 edition of the Greenwave has heart in a game the team never trailed. Despite Moapa Valley's persistence to keep the score close, Fallon found a way to prevent the Pirates from robbing the Wave of their lead and of their eventual win.

The Greenwave's mission to win the coveted state trophy has one final stop when Fallon faces Faith Lutheran High School at 4:05 p.m. at Reno's Damonte High School.

The entire student body and community are abuzz with the Greenwave and Saturday's game. On Friday, the Lahontan Valley News will have a guide to the championship game, and if you can't attend, follow us on Facebook with up-to-date scores or listen to Fallon's own KKTU Radio, FM 99.5.