Galena escapes with win against Fallon
Appeal News Service
RENO – The Galena football team needed to pull the same rabbit from its hat three times to avoid losing its first league game of the season.
With an inadequate running game, the Grizzlies dazzled the Greenwave defense with the halfback pass, preventing Fallon from recording the upset, 13-6, Friday night on Homecoming at Grizzly Stadium.
“They were coming downhill at us all night long and we had some opportunities that we missed in the play action game,” Galena coach Steve Struzyk said.
Galena stayed tied with Reed in the High Desert League at 3-0 (5-1) while Fallon dropped to 1-3 (2-5). The Grizzlies travel to Elko next week and the Greenwave hosts Reed in its final home game of the year.
Struzyk was impressed with Fallon’s ability to stop the run.
“They’ve played some quality opponents this year. It was a dog fight,” Struzyk said. “We couldn’t run the ball tonight. They’re linebackers were awesome. They are much more physical than the Fallons of old. You can tell coach (Ray) Holladay is doing a great job in the weight room.”
Holladay’s main goal was to stop running back Jimmy Sargent, who tallied consecutive 150-plus yard games against McQueen and Spanish Springs.
“They run the ball. Sargent runs the ball 35, 40 times a game,” Holladay said. “We were going to stop the run and force them to beat us throwing the ball.”
With both teams averaging in the 20s, Friday night’s contest was all about the defense.
“I think it was a great defensive struggle tonight. We’re the No. 3 ranked defense coming in tonight and they’re the No. 1 ranked defense,” Holladay said. “They were the No. 3 ranked offense and we were the No. 4 ranked offense. I think it was a great defensive game. We really couldn’t run the ball. They couldn’t run the ball. That speaks highly of both defenses.”
Holladay said Fallon still has a shot to make the playoffs where the top four teams from each league advance at the end of the month. Fallon sits in fifth in the HDL.
“We still have an opportunity to go 3-3 in league,” Holladay said. “We’ve got to throw our hat in the ring and try and get in. I told them to keep their heads up and we have a chance to win four games.”
As a result of an insufficient running offense, Struzyk opted for the halfback pass.
Sargent’s three halfback passes allowed Galena to erase a 6-0 deficit in the fourth quarter and win the game late in the quarter.
“We look for it. That’s a play Jimmy likes,” Struzyk said. “That’s something if it’s open, we’re going to look at it. We didn’t want to throw the ball (in the first half).”
On third down, Sargent connected with Jesse Snodgrass for 35 yards to set up a Jake Hess quarterback keeper for a 1-yard score, capping off a 14-play drive to put Galena ahead 7-6 with nine minutes in the game.
After stopping Fallon on the ensuing series, Sargent struck again with a 30-yard halfback pass to Steven Blackhart on another third down. Sargent, who was named Homecoming King, ended the 12-play drive with a 5-yard floater to Blackhart with 1:31 left.
“It was a great play on coach Struzyk’s part,” Holladay said of the first halfback pass.
The Greenwave stormed down the field with a 21-yard run from Joe Leon and a 19-yard completion from Jory Weisenberg to Shaun Edwards. On first down from Galena’s 45 yard line, Weisenberg fumbled the ball with 34 seconds left.
Edwards scored Fallon’s lone touchdown with no time left in the first half. Weisenberg found the senior receiver across the middle for the 27-yard score.