In about two weeks, the Fallon football team will suit up with full pads for the first time this season.
Before the hitting commences, though, the Greenwave took part in the inaugural Douglas Flying Tigers Passing Tournament on Friday. The seven-on-seven games do not consist of linemen and a 40-yard field.
Fallon senior quarterback Joe Pyle, who has been named the starter by coach Brooke Hill, turned heads and raised eyebrows with an impressive performance in the six games. Pyle spun spiral after spiral leading the Greenwave to a 5-1 record.
Fallon beat Fernley, North Valleys, Hug, McQueen and Reed before falling to Bishop Manogue in the title game.
“Joe has done a lot of work on his own,” Hill said. “He’s worked on his body and turned himself into a good looking football player. He was really sharpe the other day and spinning it really well.”
The championship game, though, was stopped with about 10 minutes remaining after a horrific collision between Fallon teammates Evan Bitter and Riley Williams.
The two linebackers went up to bat down a pass, but their heads crashed into each other. Bitter was knocked unconscious and starting convulsing on the field.
He was transported to Reno by CareFlight. Subsequent tests came back negative for any serious damage, although Hill said Bitter will not suit up for some time as a precaution.
Back on the field, the Wave’s skill players held their own against the DI’s offerings in preparation for Fallon’s first game on Aug. 30 in Loomis, Calif., against Cardinal Newman of Santa Rosa.
The format for the 7-on-7 is to simulate game, however, linemen do not particpate.
Teams start at the opponents’ 40-yard line and earn seven points for a touchdown. The defense earned two points for a stop or three for an interception. Quaterbacks, though, only have 4 seconds to release the ball.
In addition, the tournament allowed Hill to mix and match various groupings and players to watch what pairings work well together.
Tyler Bagby started at running back to plug the hole left by Trent Tarner, who graduated in May. Also in the running back rotation are Nathan Heck, Charles Fulks and Jake Ernst, although Heck did not play as he was at a pole vault camp.
“Tyler Bagby did real well and went both ways (offense and defense),” Hill said.
At receiver, Connor Richardson has been moved out wide after Pyle won the quarterback competition. Richardson remains the backup QB, but will see action at receiver.
Joining Richardson are Bradlee Porter and Jordan Schultz among others vying for a starting role.
“You don’t get a lot of chances in the summer to compete,” Hill said. “You can work on some of your defensive schemes. Obviously, with our passing game we can get in a rhythm. We got a lot of skill guys and they contributed.”
Defensively, Hill said Johnny Mayo played well and is penciled in as one of the two starting inside linebacker along with Williams. On the outside, Trae Workman and Bitter are the starters, although Bitter will not play until Hill feels comfortable with Bitter’s health.
“In these two weeks (before official practice begins), we want to continue with our strength and conditioning program,” Hill said. “We’ve been averaging over 100 kids (all levels) per day. Most of what we do is in. It’s only about a month away before that opening game.”
Teams in the tourney were Bishop Manogue, Douglas, Carson, Galena, Reed, Spanish Springs, McQueen, Hug, North Valleys and Fernley.