Greenwave prospects revive old standards anew
Will Fallon win state again?
The many days spent conditioning in the spring and summer months will finally be put to the test.
The high school football season opens tonight, including Fallon, the defending state 3A champ, traveling to cross-valley rival Fernley for a 7 p.m. kickoff.
Nine months and 12 days have passed since Fallon defeated Moapa Valley for the school’s first state championship since the 1970s. And much has changed for the green and white after Brooke Hill lost 25 seniors to graduation. But while this year’s team will have a handful of unfamiliar faces, the look and feel of the program will be the same.
Fallon’s offense took a hit with quarterback Connor Richardson graduating but newcomer Christian Nemeth comes in with the tools already in place. Most of the receivers and running backs return, making life easier for the junior quarterback.
But don’t expect Nemeth to struggle behind center as Fallon’s turned out good quarterbacks every season. Morgan Dirickson, Joe Pyle and Richardson have each helped the Greenwave dominate the league and win in the playoffs.
The biggest question mark will be the defense. Two-way players TJ Mauga, Brock Uptain, Sean McCormick and Conner Nelson return and will be looked upon to guide a young and inexperienced defensive group.
Nevertheless, this year will fun and exciting to watch as the Greenwave defends its state championship. With the playoff field opening from four to six spots this year, expect more fight coming from the schools and don’t be surprised if Wooster or Sparks sneaks in.
While preseason rankings don’t mean anything because of the many unknowns, especially in the 3A this year, here are five Greenwave football story lines to follow this fall.
1. Will Fallon go undefeated in league, again?
This year might be the most competitive season in league. While Fallon should be pegged to win the regular season title, the rest of the league is up for grabs. Truckee, Spring Creek, Elko, and Fernley; take a pick at one of those teams for second place and no one will question you. If Fallon does lose a league game, it will be due to the team’s inexperience, especially on the defensive side of the ball. But don’t expect the team to self-destruct.
2. Who will be No. 6?
Six — not four — playoff spots are on the line. It’s going to be a battle for that final playoff spot as each school, even Dayton, has already shown promise this summer. Sparks and Wooster are even in the mix, and South Tahoe got hot last year, winning its last six games. Any team is capable of making the playoffs and while that may sound like a cliché, it’s actually true this year. Anyone can make the playoffs. The winner of the No. 4 vs. No. 6 game will play the top seed, which should be Fallon.
3. Will Dayton score against Fallon in Pat Squire’s return?
Dayton, which didn’t score a point until the last game of the season last year, comes to Fallon for the school’s homecoming game. It’s also fitting that its new coach, ex-Fallon assistant Pat Squires, will be coming home to show the Fallon faithful what he’s been up to in Dayton. Outside of Fallon’s coaches, Squires has been around the Greenwave long enough to know how to beat his former team. A win might be farfetched but how about scoring points?
4. Can Fallon’s defense allow 75 or less points?
The Greenwave’s defense was remarkable last year. Fallon was the only team to hold the league opposition to double digits during the regular season. It wasn’t even close. Fallon didn’t allow more than 50 points and the second-best scoring defense was Elko, which surrendered 128 points. While 50 seems unreachable considering last year’s talent, keeping the points below the 75-point threshold will be considered a success.
5. Last but not least, will Fallon repeat as state champs?
A lot can happen during the regular season. Injuries can cripple a talented team, crushing any hopes of making the playoffs. Or it can create an opportunity for an unknown player to rise and become the star of the team. If Fallon’s defense can dominant this season and Nemeth meshes with the offense, there’s no reason the Greenwave will not finish on top of the league. Winning another state title isn’t out of the question, either.
Thomas Ranson can be contacted at email@example.com.