Improved Wooster visits Fallon for home opener
This isn’t the same Wooster football team that served as a doormat to the 3A.
Despite losing their first two games of the season, the Colts come into Fallon for tonight’s conference clash much improved from last year’s team as first-year coach Bo Sellers has the Reno school playing competitively. After a blowout loss to Truckee to open the year, Wooster came back with a valiant effort against Elko but lost 20-13 last week.
“We came out of the Truckee game obviously disheartened at the ability to do the fundamentals of football, which is blocking, tackling and running,” said Sellers, who played for one of Wooster’s state championship teams in the 1990s. “We went back to basics and reiterated that we got beat in all aspects of the game and to continue to work on them. The biggest thing with Wooster has been the absence of being in games. We won some games by large margins and lost some games by large margins.”
Both teams square off in the Wave’s home opener at the Ed Arciniega Athletic Complex at tonight 7 p.m. in the first football game since Arciniega died in April. The game will be broadcast on KTUU (99.5) with Larry Barker calling the play-by-play and Randy Beeghley providing color commentary.
Tonight’s game marks the first time Fallon has played at home since the state semifinal win over Chaparral in November. Fallon split its two road contests to open this season, including a 28-12 loss to Truckee last week, the first league loss since the 2013 season.
“It will be nice,” Fallon coach Brooke Hill said about the home opener. “It will be nice to get home. We have a new gym and new locker rooms to use at half time. It’s a new experience for us. We’re glad to be home.”
Sellers has the Colts believing that they are capable of competing with any team in the league and it showed against Elko.
Receivers Justin Waters and Alex Malcolm, and running backs Romeo Okorie and Gabriel Olier shined for the Colts last week and help give Wooster a threat in both the air and on the ground. Junior quarterback Hunter Vetter connected with Waters for a touchdown against the Indians before the offense went dormant for the rest of the night.
Elko’s defense shut down Wooster in the second half and used the passing and running games to come back for the win.
It’s all about the little things for the Colts.
“We try to take it one series at a time whether we’re on offense or defense. Every play is important,” Sellers said. “We teach the kids to stay up. If all 11 guys are doing what they’re told, it’s giving us a chance and putting us in a position to execute on plays. The biggest struggle has been the kids’ self-confidence.”
For the Greenwave, Hill said the loss to Truckee will help the team find its identity as well as continue to evolve with an inexperienced group, especially on the defensive side.
“We sat down and talked about what happened,” Hill said. “We had to keep it in perspective. Yeah, we had won 19 league games in a row. We’ll learn more from this loss than if we would have won. We’ll know more about who we are as a team. They responded well. They practiced well and we’re be ready to go.”
Fallon jumped out to an early lead against Truckee but the offense was held in check. The Wolverines used a strong running game and their physicality in the trenches helped lead to big plays. Two of Truckee’s four touchdowns benefited from runs of 72 and 44 yards. In the previous week, Fernley reeled off an 80-yard touchdown run.
“Our guys were ready to play. They expect to win,” Hill said about the team’s loss. “Eventually, you’re going to lose a game. We’ll learn a lot from that loss about us. If we can turn the page, move on and get better, the loss will help us down the road. And it will. They responded the right way.”
The big plays, regardless of opponent, Hill said cannot happen but it’s part of the team’s growing pains.
“Every single one of them has been an assignment error,” Hill added. “We talk to these guys all the time about playing all four quarters. You‘ve got to be consistent and do your job.”
Offensively, Fallon’s been able to run the ball effectively with senior back Cade Vercellotti in the backfield. Vercellotti is averaging 150.5 yards and has tallied two touchdowns. In the air, junior quarterback Christian Nemeth has completed 45 percent of his passes for 191.5 yards and three touchdowns and three interceptions.
Wooster poses similar challenges as Truckee and will try to dominate the line of scrimmage and stop the run game.
“They’re very aggressive in their schemes. They’re going to come and smack you and swarm the football,” Hill said. “They’re a pretty good defense. They did have Elko down early in that ball game. Elko has been one of the top teams in our league for a while.”