With a win, Fallon’s in
Northern Division I-A schedule
Spring Creek at Fallon, 7 p.m.
Wooster at Dayton, 7 p.m.
Elko at South Tahoe, 7 p.m.
Sparks at Lowry
Fernley at Truckee, 1:30 p.m.
1, Mason Cain, South Tahoe, 1,691. 2, Hunter Triplett, Wooster, 1,448. 3, Christian Gray, Lowry, 947. 4, Joe Pyle, Fallon, 856. 5, Dillon Draper, Spring Creek, 807.
1, Skyler Berntson, Dayton, 812. 2, Beau Billingsley, Lowry, 796. 3, Brian Reyes, Fernley, 764. 4, Nathan Heck, Fallon, 612. 5, Braxton Williams, Spring Creek, 594.
1, Chris Greco, Wooster, 707. 2, Kirby David, South Tahoe, 603. 3, Ryan Gage, Wooster, 486. 4, Will Mori, South Tahoe, 442. 5, Brandon Erickson, South Tahoe, 337.
1, Greco, 85. 2, Wulfe Retzlaff, Truckee, 76. 3, Donovan Brumm, 69. 3, Eli Delauney, Truckee, 69. 5, Billingsley, 63.
1, Benton Wickersham, Elko, 7. 2, Justin Hatfield, Fallon, 6.. 3, Retzlaff, 4. 4, Taylor Ludwig, Truckee, 3. 4, Billingsley, 3.
1, Kenan Mcdonald, Fernley, 4. 2, Carlos McIntyer, Fernley, 2. 2, Nate Nelson, Lowry, 2. 2, Delauney, 2. Adam Bullock, Elko, 2.
*Stats courtesy Maxpreps. Stats may not be updated from coaches.
The math is simple: Win and they clinch.
Add a win next week and the Northern Division I-A No. 1 seed once again belongs to the Fallon football team.
But first, the Greenwave (6-0 league, 6-1 overall) hosts a pesky Spring Creek (3-3) squad fighting for its playoff lives.
“They (Spring Creek) know they’ve got three straight games where they finish with us, Lowry and Elko,” Fallon coach Brooke Hill said. “They have no wiggle room and will come in ready to go.”
Fallon, though, started shaky in its 48-0 drubbing over Sparks last week, while Spring Creek was stunned 33-20 by Truckee.
The Spartans, though, must contain a physical, yet, explosive Fallon team capable of grinding its way down the field or busting loose in the open field.
In addition, the Wave has the best defense in the league as the unit held Sparks and Elko (5-1) under 300 total yards combined the past two games and earned its first shutout since 2012.
In league play, Fallon is allowing a meager 10.8 points per game, while the offense is putting up 44.8 points per contest.
“We didn’t play our best last week,” Hill added. “We have a chance to clinch and when you have that opportunity you have to make the most of it.”
Coming off a less-than-inspiring week of practice before the Sparks game, Hill said the intensity and focus must increase. Fallon’s final stretch includes three teams with a .500 record or better including the desperate Spartans.
As the weeks go by, the competition will only be tougher and Fallon’s mindset must be in place to navigate through the rest of its league slate, plus the hopes of another appearance in the DI-A state title game.
“Everybody from here on out knows how to win,” Hill said. “They need to realize we don’t want to give anything back … or put ourselves in a position where we need help.”
Experience, though, is in the Wave’s corner as Fallon was in a similar situation last season, although Fallon shared the league title with Elko and Lowry before winning two playoff games en route to their state championship appearance.
This season, however, Fallon controls its own fate. A win clinches their fifth consecutive playoff appearance and two wins earns the Wave the No. 1 seed and home-field advantage.
“If we take just take care of business and win out, then we will be where we want to be,” Hill explained. “The first step is to win this week.”
Fallon, though, faces one of the league’s top running backs in Braxton Williams, who has run for 594 yards and nine touchdowns leads the Spartans offense. He’s also second on the team with 15 receptions for 208 yards.
“Our defensive front have been really good all year long,” Hill said. “With (Justin) Hatfield, (T.J.) Mauga, (Hunter) Holcomb, and our inside guys (Bradlee) Stands, (Cody) Stadtman and (Najee) Stanford, … they’ve been really good handling the other team’s front.”
Spring Creek runs an offense similar to Elko, a heavy dose of running, although the Spartans throw the ball more, but have had to as a result of trailing in their losses.
Quarterback Dillon Draper has completed 76-of-139 passes for 807 yards with three TDs and eight interceptions.
Still, the stingy Fallon defense has been lights out in league play.
“They’ve been consistent,” Hill said. “Since we’ve gotten into league and back to playing our defense. When kids can understand your scheme and do their job, and that’s what you’re seeing, we don’t have many breakdowns.”
Fallon, though, counters with its own playmakers in quarterback Joe Pyle, who has thrown for more than 220 yards in each of his last three games, and a physical and fast rushing attack.
Pyle threw for 227 yards and two TDs against Sparks and has tossed for 1,083 yards, 14 TDs and only one pick for the season.
Nathan Heck, Charles Fulks and Trae Workman, meanwhile, give Pyle a safety blanket in the backfield.
Heck mustered his fourth 100-yard game against Sparks on eight carries and leads the team with 715 yards on the ground. Fulks (360 yards) adds another speed element , while Workman (110 yards) is not afraid of contact.
“We have settled into our position at receiver … and Joe is getting rhythm and timing with those guys,” Hill said. “Guys are making plays for him, too. From Connor (Richardson), Cameron Beyer … (Jordan) Schultz … and those guys are making plays.”