BEHIND THE PLATE: Wave’s season highlights festivities
For more than 100 years, Homecoming has served as a popular tradition in this country with a week reserved in the early fall welcoming back alumni and re-energizing the school with pride and spirit.
It gives ailing schools an opportunity to resurrect a football season or help overcome tragedy. It allows former students to visit and recall the past when things were different. It adds more fuel to an already-established rivalry.
As Fallon welcomes its cross-valley rival, Fernley, tonight in a Northern Division I-A battle, members of the student council spent countless hours over the summer and first two months of the school year to inject the community with Greenwave spirit.
Centered around this year’s Disney theme, Fallon kicked off the spirited week with its annual parade down Maine Street on Monday with many floats as students headed toward to the high school for the Powder Puff game. Maine Street has history with the Greenwave, especially the downtown fountain that is dyed green when one of the teams has achieved monumental success.
But bigger than the parade or the Powder Puff game during Homecoming is the football game, along with the crowning of the school’s king and queen. Football has become a popular mainstay throughout the country, generating enormous numbers in participation, revenue and interest. Americans love football, and so do high schools.
For nearly 20 years, though, the Homecoming game hasn’t been friendly to the Lahontan Valley.
Since Fallon made the jump to the Class 4A (now Division I), the Greenwave struggled nearly every week against the bigger schools in the Reno-Tahoe area. Losing seasons were the norm, making each win unique and special. Homecoming wins felt like the team won the state championship.
During my senior year, Fallon snapped a losing streak on Homecoming by annihilating South Tahoe. Nothing else seemed to matter except that one game.
Two years later, Fallon did it again on Homecoming – twice.
Galena’s public address announcer’s comments against the Greenwave during the Grizzlies’ Homecoming game only made Fallon want to win even more. Fallon upset the Reno school, leaving one of the richest parts of the city in shock and disbelief that little ole Fallon thoroughly dominated from start to finish. The Greenwave won a second Homecoming game in 2005, outlasting North Valleys in Fallon during the Ray Holladay era.
Winning seasons never happened in the 4A until Fallon dropped down to the next division (Division I-A) and the Greenwave have not lost a Homecoming game since 2010 against Spring Creek.
This year, though, is much different as Fallon enters this year’s popular game with an unblemished record and a hungry opponent seeking revenge.
Sitting at 6-0, Fallon has steamrolled its opponents, winning every game by at least four touchdowns and will face its strongest test tonight against Fernley. The Greenwave ruined their rivals’ Homecoming last year with an impressive defensive effort that snapped Fernley’s winning streak after the Vaqueros recorded one of the biggest upsets in state history.
Every game is important. Every game is a must-win. Homecoming games should not be lost.
The Greenwave is playing like one of the best teams in the state with something to prove. The taste of nearly 20 losing seasons in the Division I still lingers like an irritating cold sore. Fallon has the opportunity to prove tonight that its Oregon-like offense can run past Fernley like it did during the first six games. The Greenwave is on a mission this season to go the distance and Homecoming only exemplifies this intense rivalry.
Spirit and tradition never lack at Fallon but if you ever needed a reason to spend a Friday night at the high school field, then tonight is the best opportunity to witness good football, dazzling Homecoming floats and the crowning of this year’s king and queen.
Thomas Ranson can be contacted at email@example.com.