Wave football places 13 on all-state
The accolades continue piling up for the Greenwave football team.
Barely a month after winning the school’s first state football title in 37 years, Fallon placed 13 on the Division I-A all-state team last week.
Like it did in the regular season and then the playoffs, Fallon dominated its competition, this time taking most of the top honors, including Coach of the Year, MVP and Defensive Player of the Year. Moapa Valley’s R.J. Hubbert was named the Offensive Player of the Year while Desert Pines’ P.J. Poutasi was named Lineman of the Year.
Ex-Greenwave quarterback Brooke Hill was named Coach of the Year after guiding his team to the state championship win over Moapa Valley last month after Fallon came up short two years ago in the title game against Faith Lutheran. Hill came back to the Lahontan Valley after starring in the 1980s to coach the program in 2002 as an assistant when Fallon was in the former 4A before taking the reigns in 2009. Fallon finished this year 12-1, with their only loss in the season opener against a California school. This marks Hill’s first COY honor for all-state after he won his third straight regional COY earlier this month.
“That’s the special thing about saying this hasn’t happened in a while. It’s great for the community,” Hill said after Fallon defeated Moapa Valley. “I’m from here. I’m a Fallon kid. To do that is doubly special but it’s a great community to grow up in and live in. We’re proud to be from there.”
Senior quarterback Connor Richardson, in his first season as the starter, was named the state’s MVP after his dual-threat ability frustrated defenses throughout the season, including the playoffs. His decision-making both on the ground and in the air helped carry a potent offense that proved to be unstoppable. Richardson was also named the league MVP.
Richardson completed almost 70 percent (203 of 298) of his passes for 2,788 yards and 34 touchdowns. Richardson threw only nine interceptions in 13 games and finished with a quarterback rating of 122.3. On the ground, Richardson dazzled, benefiting from the pistol’s read-option offense to tally 585 rushing yards on 94 carries and seven touchdowns.
“It’s awesome. We did it for the community,” Richardson said after the title game. “We did it for our family and friends and anyone who supported us. It’s awesome to give it back to them.”
Junior defensive end T.J. Mauga picked up Defensive Player of the Year, a fitting award after clinching the state title when he intercepted a lateral and immediately fell down to preserve the win with time expired. Mauga picked up the same honor for the league earlier this year.
Mauga, whose older brother competes at linebacker for the Kansas City Chiefs, was a force on a defense as his menacing 6-foot-3, 250-pound frame and strength was a key part to the Greenwave postING one of the best seasons in school history. Mauga finished with 87 total tackles, including 26 for loss, 10 sacks, two fumble recoveries and four pass deflects.
Along with Richardson and Mauga, Fallon garnered eight on the first team offense and defense and three on second team for both phases.
Junior running back Cade Vercellotti emerged from the depth chart to take over as the starter in the first month to pick up first-team honors, while junior wide receiver Brock Uptain and senior offensive tackle Taylen Cordes were also named to first team.
Vercellott led the team in rushing with 1,150 yards on 181 carries (6.4 average) and 19 touchdowns while Uptain was Richardson’s top target as he had 58 receptions for 877 yards and six touchdowns. Cordes helped solidify an offensive line that led to 2,437 rushing yards and 31 touchdowns, and it protected Richardson in the pocket.
“All the way growing up through elementary school I’ve always thought what it would be like to win a state championship in football because of all the fans that come to football games,” Vercellotti said after winning the state title.
The defense, as appropriate, had five selected to the first team, including senior defensive end Michael Porras, senior linebackers Riley Williams, Johnny Mayo and Evan Bitter, and senior safety Aaron Bitter. Porras was second on the team in tackles for loss with 21 as he totaled 66 and he also had five sacks. Mayo led the team in tackles with 97, including 13 for loss, and had four sacks, while Evan Bitter had 86 tackles (15 for loss) and three sacks. Williams was fourth on the team in tackles with 82 (10 for loss) and Aaron Bitter followed with 74 (4). Bitter led the team in interceptions with five, including one in the state championship, while Evan Bitter, Mayo and Williams each had two.
The Greenwave defense added one to the second team, senior Conner Nelson, and senior offensive guard Wyatt Hampton and senior center Braxton Hunter were selected to the second team offense. Nelson tallied 12 tackles but had two interceptions, while Hampton and Hunter teamed with Cordes to anchor Fallon’s strong offense.