Wave football posts another shutout
The Greenwave varsity football team is back to shutting out their opponents after a 48-0 home victory against the Sparks Railroaders on Friday. The Wave is currently undefeated in the D1-A conference at 6-0 and 6-1 overall, while the Railroaders are 1-50 in league play and 2-5-0 overall.
The game began with a Wave specialty, when Connor Nelson returned the kickoff for a 90-yard touchdown, 7- 0. The Railroaders then took their first possession, though it wouldn’t last long since the Wave defense made every play count, and the Railroaders were unable to forge a successful running game against a tight Wave defense.
The Railroaders gained four yards on their first run before a tackle by Wave senior Kyle Larsen. Wave senior Riley Williams brought down the next Sparks runner at the 28, and after two unsuccessful runs the Wave had the ball again.
Wave senior Aaron Bitter ran it back to the Wave 47-yard line. After an incomplete pass as a warm-up Wave senior quarterback Connor Richardson, and two swing passes to Bitter advancing the Wave to the 17-yard line, Richardson ran for a first down to get the Wave to the first and goal. Within four minutes of their first touchdown, Wave junior Cade Vercellotti ran from the four-yard line for another touchdown, bringing it to 14-0 after another successful kick by Williams.
For the rest of the first the Railroaders seemed to make no attempt to avoid running up the center, perhaps believing it would eventually pay dividends. After a successful pass to Sparks senior John Anguiano for the first down, Railroaders senior Rod Po’oi and junior Johnny Cannady couldn’t break past the Wave defensive middle for another first down. The Wave nearly took possession earlier with a near interception by junior Brock Uptain, but the Railroaders would kick off from the 41-yard line instead to Nelson, signaling a fair catch from the 29.
Sparks, on the other hand, would regain possession soon after Vercellotti fumbled on the 30-yard line. Still, the closest they would come before time ran out to a touchdown was a near-breakaway down the right side by Sparks senior Tevan Po’oi, who was brought down hard at the 47-yard line by Wave senior Mike Porras. After one more first down by Rod Po’oi at the 32-yard line, the Sparks offense was shut down in the last few minutes and the first quarter ended with the Wave leading 14-0.
The second quarter began with Evan Bitter receiving the kickoff, running 67-yards before he was brought down at the Sparks 33-yard line. After another first down by Uptain at the 17, Wave senior Cameron Beyer found a wide gap in the end-zone and caught for the Wave’s third touchdown, bringing the score to 21-0.
Sparks wouldn’t hold possession for long. After Wave senior Johnny Mayo brought down the Sparks runners twice in a row, two of his 30 solo tackles this game, Williams made an interception for the Wave, and Nelson ran 51 yards for the Wave’s fourth touchdown. The kick after by Williams however was no good and the score was 27-0.
When Sparks regained possession, they came close to what might’ve been the first touchdown to put them on the board, fighting to the first and goal thanks to Cannady grabbing two first downs and pushing through a tight clustered Wave defense. Unfortunately, Fallon proved in this game that they can hold the line no matter how small when Williams tackled Cannady over the top of a pileup, and the Wave took possession.
Half a minute later after a battle to the Sparks 43-yard line, Vercellotti ran for another Wave touchdown, for a 33-0 lead with 6:30 left in the half. This wouldn’t be the last touchdown of the half for Vercellotti, who scored another 27-yard run within 30 seconds, bringing it to 41-0, and another after a 14-yard pass from Richardson, blocked by Uptain from the left with two minutes left. The second quarter ended at 48-0.
The second half passed without scoring on either team’s behalf, but not uneventfully. The Railroaders were beginning to learn from their mistakes in the first half, less eager to try and break through the middle of the Wave’s defense and more focused on passing and swing plays to get them first downs. This, along with their defenders ganging up on Vercellotti and Aaron Bitter allowed them several more rounds of possession than the first half.
The third quarter wouldn’t be without some pain for the Railroaders, though, particularly when Evan Bitter laid out Rod Po’oi at the 49-yard line with 6:07 left after Sparks fought hard for a first down. Bitter and Mayo prevented more than a yard gain for Sparks, but throughout the third quarter, the Wave was unable to make rally their offense further, and were stopped at the post minutes later just shy of another touchdown. The third quarter ended 48-0.
While the Railroaders weren’t able to maintain themselves offensively in the fourth quarter, they were defensively resilient and efficient in preventing any further Wave touchdowns. Possession shifted slowly but evenly between the two teams, a less aggressive Wave offensive relying on swing plays to get first downs. Though the Wave was able to fight twice to the goal, Wave senior Bryson Abe was unable to break through the middle of the Railroaders’ stronger defense, despite several attempts at first and goal.