Fallon pride for football
There’s only one place to be on Friday nights during the fall.
“We’re the only show in town,” Fallon football coach Brooke Hill said. “Those Reno schools, those Vegas schools, they fight with UNLV. They fight with UNR. We’re the only show in town. If we’re not doing well, it reflects badly on our town. We wanted to get this thing turned around so we have a sense of pride in Fallon. Hopefully we’re getting there.”
Regardless of how the Greenwave’s season has been, many people pack the stands at the Edward Arciniega Athletic Complex. From the high school’s overwhelming support with countless assemblies, bonfires and Homecoming to the community backing the program 100 percent, the Greenwave have given the Lahontan Valley a chance to witness history.
Coming off its 10-point win over previously unbeaten Moapa Valley in the Division I-A state semifinals on Saturday, Fallon is one win away from winning the state crown for the first time in 35 years when the Greenwave played at the old Bradley Field. Fallon travels to Damonte Ranch High School on Saturday for a 4:05 p.m. bout with Faith Lutheran, which defeated Lowry last week.
And part of the credit goes toward the community backing the high school during both the good and bad times.
“During the times we didn’t have a winning record, our crowd always showed up regardless,” Fallon offensive coordinator Lalo Otuafi said. “It was exciting. That’s why after this game (against Moapa Valley) we wanted to send the kids to the crowd. They’re just as involved as we are. They’re here. They were here during the bad times. They’re still here. We wanted them to be part of this. I’m happy that coach Hill sent out the kids after we won that to the crowd. They were here with us from the beginning.”
From multiple donations and sponsorships to businesses proudly displaying the green and white in their windows, Greenwave fever is contagious every year. The Fallon Quarterback Club continues its strong support of the football program and will be holding a tailgate on Saturday at Lamppost Pizza (across from the Home Depot off the Damonte Ranch exit) from noon to 3 p.m. Everyone is welcomed as the club will be paying for $400 worth of pizza. Fans are encouraged to bring a dessert item.
The team will also have an escort by the Fallon Police Department to the city limits, then the Churchill County Sheriff’s Office will lead the club to Leetville Junction.
The players notice the support from the community every time they step on the field and see the packed stands and countless business signs at the high school complex.
“The community just comes out. Whenever we have a home game, they support us big,” Fallon defensive back and wide receiver Tyler Bagby said. “You look at the stands at any of our home games and they’re packed. They’re always there. The student section is always packed. I would be surprised if they don’t go to Reno with us.”
While Bagby is no stranger to the varsity team, newcomer and impact player Cameron Matzen has been impressed with the support.
“We had the same people come back every year even after they graduate and their kids are not on the team,” Matzen said. “They keep coming back. The crowd helps us a lot. It keeps our spirits high.”
If the crowd ever needed a spark plug other than seeing the Greenwave dominate the competition, the marching band and cheerleading squad have stayed strong since Week 1. Although the numbers have been down with the band compared to previous seasons, the green and white continues to get the crowd on its feet with the school song, “Onward Greenwave,” while throwing in Gary Glitter every now and then. And don’t forget about the cheerleaders in case you forgot some of the words to the Fight Song.
“Our goal at every game is to support our team the best we can and we have been fortunate this year to have a lot of help not only from the community, but also from the CCHS Pep Club and the CCHS band,” Fallon cheer adviser Yvonne Bivens said. “It was evident at the game against Moapa Valley how all of the groups feed off of each other to cheer on the team. The entire crowd was standing and cheering by the fourth quarter of the game. We are looking forward to more fan support this Saturday.”
The cheer team continues to be a mainstay regardless if Fallon finishes the year winless or is on the brink of winning a state championship.
For Saturday’s game, the junior varsity, which includes freshmen, and varsity squads will team together.
“It’s exciting. This is what we live for to build support, build spirit and awareness for the team regardless of score,” said Sherri Barnes, who was the cheer adviser for seven years before handing over the program to Bivens. “They’re giving their blood, sweat and tears, and we’re investing our heart, mind and tears as well on a different level. You can feel the energy.”
Not taking anything away from the other fall sports, Hill said that the buzz around town regarding the football team, especially since making the playoffs, reminded him from when he played in the late 1980s under former coach Chris Klenakis, now the offensive line coach at Iowa State.
“People want to talk about it. They’re excited about it,” Hill said about the program this season. “That’s great. That’s what it’s about. When the community’s excited, the kids are excited. That’s really what it’s for.”