Cross-valley rivalry takes center stage
Boston and New York.
Cal and Stanford.
Walmart and Target.
Rivalries exist all over the country, from coast to coast, and it’s not just with sports. Competitiveness is in our nature, regardless of the type of playing field. Whether it’s battling for supremacy on the baseball diamond or trying to outwit a rival company and score a major contract.
While it’s not the same intensity you see on a collegiate or professional level, there’s no denying that a rivalry exits in Fallon every time the Greenwave faces the Vaqueros. The sport has never mattered between these two schools. There’s been some fun history, especially since the realignment sent Fallon into the state’s second largest class a few years ago.
Football’s the marquee sports, but the rivalry has been strong outside of the fall sport, too. The basketball teams have battled continuously in the winter but the softball teams make the biggest argument of being the top sport in this cross-valley rivalry. Each of the last five state softball titles have been between Fallon and Fernley, with the Lady Wave getting the upper hand and winning four of those.
But for one day — today — this rivalry is about the football teams.
Fallon’s potent offense is put to the test again when Fernley visits the Lahontan Valley for Senior Night. Not only is the Greenwave’s perfect league record on the line, but also the top seed for next month’s playoffs could be in jeopardy if the Vaqueros can pull off the upset and force a three-way tie for first going into the final week of the regular season.
This squad, though, has experience in its corner coming into tonight’s game.
Fallon hasn’t lost to Fernley since joining the Division I-A in 2011, defeating its rival in five games including a first-round playoff victory in 2013. After Fernley’s monumental upset over Truckee that snapped one of the state’s longest winning streaks in 2012, Fallon returned the favor the following week to hand Fernley its first loss. And most recently, Fallon held on for a 28-20 win last year in Fernley but depending on how tonight fares, these two teams could be meeting in the playoffs again.
The Greenwave has the league’s second highest scoring offense with almost 37 points per game. The defense is the best in the league, allowing about 10 points per game.
Senior Connor Richardson has posted the second most passing yards and two of his targets are in the top five in receiving yards. Fallon’s new hero on the ground has been Cade Vercellotti, who emerged onto the season a few weeks into the season after injuries took down a couple running backs. Vercellotti is third in the league in rushing and total points.
And while the offense has been strong, like in previous years, the defense has held strong. T.J. Mauga leads the league with five sacks. In fact, Fallon is above the national average in all defensive — and offensive — categories according to Maxpreps.com.
Fallon is having another strong season that will see the Greenwave extend into the playoffs next month. But tonight’s game will help determine the top team in the league when Fallon and Fernley collide at the Ed Arciniega Athletic Complex. A lot will be on the line even though the season ends next week at Lowry.
But this is what helps fuel rivalries and make them stronger — not just stronger every year in football but in every sport between these two schools.
Thomas Ranson can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.