Nelson sparks the Fallon offense
For the LVN
Fallon scored five touchdowns on its first 11 plays from scrimmage and quarterback Conner Nelson provided yet another offensive spark in a 52-0 home win Friday against Dayton.
“We were able to execute tonight, which was nice to see, because we have struggled a little bit this year,” Fallon head coach Brooke Hill said.
After moving Nelson, a standout receiver, to quarterback in the fourth quarter last week in South Tahoe — where he almost completed a 30-point fourth quarter comeback victory — Fallon (3-2, 3-2 in Northern 3A) seemed back to championship form Friday with quick strikes early and often.
On its first play from scrimmage, senior back Brock Uptain ran 68 yards to the Dayton 14-yard line. Two plays later, Nelson scored on a 1-yard quarterback keeper.
Fallon received the ball on Dayton’s 12-yard line on its next possession following a botched snap on a Dayton punt play. Nelson took the first play from scrimmage 12 yards for a touchdown.
He connected on a 31-yard touchdown pass to Uptain on the first play of Fallon’s next possession to take a 19-0 lead into the second quarter.
Cade Vercellotti joined the scoring barrage for Fallon on a 74-yard touchdown run. He led Fallon with 126 yards and three rushing touchdowns (125 of those yards coming in the first half).
“We all just worked as a team and everybody was doing their job,” Vercellotti said.
Uptain tacked on a defensive touchdown with 1 minute, 48 seconds to go in the third quarter when Dayton quarterback Blake Fletcher’s backwards screen pass tipped off the fingers off Dylan Torgerson and hit the turf. Uptain picked up the ball and ran 35 yards for the touchdown.
“They are just a physical upright team,” said Fletcher, who made his first start of the season at quarterback on Friday. “They just out played us. They just beat us.”
Fletcher admitted he was “nervous all day” going into the game. He completed 8-of 14 passes for 41 yards and one interception.
“I think Blake did OK,” said Squires, who coached varsity special teams and junior varsity at Fallon for eight years before taking the Dayton head-coaching job this year. “I think for our first time out there in our system, just like with Dylan (Torgerson) at Elko, we got some things to work on, but we are sticking with it, I’m not flip-flopping. He deserves a shot at it.”
Throughout the game, Dayton’s rushers struggled to open up the passing game. The Dust Devil’s leading carrier, senior Ernie Rojas, rushed the ball for less than a handful of yards on eight carries.
But the big story was Nelson’s quarterback play and the potential he brings for a defending state champion that struggled out of the gate, but is beginning to find it’s identity mid-season.
“He’s been an all league receiver for us, including last year on our state championship team, so we wanted to leave him out there as long as we could,” Hill said. “It just happened that we needed to move him back to a position he has played for us before — he was a quarterback on JV for us.”
Hill added: “We are still trying to find that identity. We cleaned some things up. Hopefully it continues. We have a big one up in Elko and we will see where we are at that point.”
As Fallon travels across state for its matchup at Elko next week, Dayton returns home against Lowry.