Fallon hopes to continue to raise the bar
FALLON – Fourth-year Fallon varsity football coach Ray Holladay said his team needs some help to make the postseason in the Northern 4A.
Speaking before the Fallon Rotary Club this week, Holladay said the Greenwave needs an unexpected win when league play begins on September 15.
“We’re looking for that key win against a team like Galena, Reed or McQueen,” said Holladay, whose overall varsity coaching record is 7-21. “The kids are ready to take that step.”
Before the Wave faces Northern 4A competition, Fallon has three games on its nonleague schedule, beginning tonight with Fernley. Kickoff is at 7:30 p.m., and the game will be broadcast on KVLV-FM radio (99.3).
The Wave and Fernley renewed their rivalry in 2004, and each team has won a game. Fallon manhandled the Vaqueros, 40-8, three years ago, but Fernley kicked its way to a 10-7 double overtime victory one year ago.
“We were tight,” Holladay said of his players when they played the Vaqueros.
Holladay, though, expects his team to be ready against the physical Vaqueros. If not, Fernley has the power to capture another win.
Fernley coach Mark Hodges also knows the importance of a season opener.
“Fallon’s going to be tough. They’re physical, and they’re well-coached.”
“Your talking about a real competitive program that’s on the brink.”
Fallon finished the 2006 season, 3-6 overall and 2-4 in league. For the first time since 1999, Fallon won two games in league. During Holladay’s tenure in Fallon, the Greenwave won three games in 2004 and again last year.
“Except for Fernley, we won the games we expected to win,” he said.
Fallon also gave McQueen a scare during the Greenwave’s homecoming game, losing 42-32, and dropped a close game to Galena, last year’s Northern 4A champs, in the fourth quarter.
Holladay, though, remains optimistic about 2007.
“We have a good core of seniors. We have a good foundation, and they know what to expect from me,” he said. “We (the coaches) have addressed the physical needs, preparation, dedication and the desire the kids need. We’re looking for the ball to bounce our way.”
This year’s varsity team has 40 players, one of Holladay’s biggest teams. He has three returning starters on offense including linemen Fletcher Bowman (senior, 6-foot-1 245 pounds) and Anthony Tisdale (junior, 6-2, 222) and wide receiver Joe Don Baker (junior, 5-9, 155).
Key defensive returnees include Bowman, defensive line; Jeremy Brown (senior, 6-1, 205), defensive line; Travis Gibson (senior, 6-1, 200), defensive line; Rylan Stevens (junior, 6-0, 185), linebacker; Trevor de Braga (senior, 5-11, 171), outside back; Anthony Woller (senior, 5-7, 142), cornerback; and Trent de Braga (junior, 5-11, 160), cornerback.
“Trevor is probably our most athletic player who will be asked to do a lot for the team this year on both sides of the ball,” Holladay said.
Trevor and Trent de Braga and Bowman were all-league selections last year.
Holladay had holes to fill because of last year’s graduating seniors. Stepping in for the departed Jory Weisenberg is junior Dexter Daum (6-2, 160).
“Dexter has taken the role as leader of our offense,” Holladay said. “We will have the ability to change plays at the line of scrimmage.”
Stepping in to run the ball will be Greg Heck (junior, 5-11, 165). He inherits the job for Joe Leon who ran for more than 1,000 yards and was a first-team all-league pick.
Holladay said Stevens was a defensive leader as a sophomore, and Woller will be able to help the team on offense and defense.
Ryan McCormick (senior, 5-11, 182) and Billy Sorensen (senior, 6-2, 188) are listed at tight end trying to replace Lyle Gardner, an all-league pick at tight end last year.
Holladay lost some depth from the offensive line because of Chris Hinkey’s graduation, but he said Bowman will be the “heart and soul” of the lineman and possibly the team.
“He’s vocal when he needs to be, but he really leads with his play,” Holladay said.
Based on the team’s off-season workouts and the summer football camp in Oregon, Holladay said this season will be important.
“We had a good last year and raised the bar even higher with our program,” he said.
“This past season, we didn’t get the wins, but we got better as a program. We were consistent in more games in the fourth quarter. We just need to build our confidence that we can win and not let one play be the reason we can’t win.”
Holladay said a major goal set by the coaching staff is to have an overall winning record as program to include the freshmen, junior varsity and varsity teams.