McCormick powers Fallon to homecoming win
LVN Editor Emeritus
Fallon quarterback Sean McCormick made life uncomfortable for Elko Friday night.
Not only did McCormick pass for 178 yards, but the junior also rushed for 138 yards as Fallon defeated Elko 32-14 in a Northern 3A football game before a packed house that included inductees to the first Greenwave Hall of Fame class.
“The kids were ready to play,” said Fallon coach Brooke Hill after the game. “I try to get them to embrace homecoming. Homecoming’s success is based on whether you win the game.”
Playing his second game at quarterback in place of the injured Elijah Jackson, McCormick ran for three touchdowns and threw a 66-yard strike to Brock Richardson for another to drop Elko to 2-4 both overall and in league. Fallon has won five straight games to improve to 6-1 overall, 5-1 in league behind first-place Fernley.
Fallon toyed with Elko during its first series when the Wave marched 74-yards in 10 plays, aided by two key passes, an 11-yard strike to Christian Nemeth and a 21-yard connect to wide receiver Clayton Steelmon to the Elko 12.
On the next play, McCormick pedaled left to his outside and kept the ball for Fallon’s touchdown at 5:56.
Talon Amezquita, who kicked the extra point for a 7-0 lead, was 2 of 5 for the night.
The Greenwave defense allowed Elko only four downs on the Indians’ second possession. On a critical fourth and four from its 46-yard line, Elko running back Gavin Byington tried to run for a first down but fell short to gain for a first down.
Fallon, though, struck quickly on its next possession when McCormick guided Fallon to its second touchdown in four plays.
Ironically, Elko’s aggressive defensive line showcased McCormick’s quickness.
Elko flushed McCormick out of the pocket, allowing him to break loose for a 38-yard run to the 7-yard line. On the next play, Richardson found running room on the right side and reached the end zone to give Fallon a 13-0 lead with 2:34 left in the quarter. Amezquita’s extra-point gave Fallon a two-touchdown lead, 14-0.
“I saw they had deep safeties, so I stepped up to get inside and get up field,” McCormick said.
Hill said McCormick is developing at quarterback.
“He’s lethal out of the pocket and makes the big play,” Hill added.
The Greenwave took to the air for its third touchdown by taking advantage of good field positon after Elko unsuccessfully attempted a 39-yard field goal. Fallon jumped on Elko for a three-play drive that resulted in a long 66-yard pass down the middle to Richardson.
Neither team mounted any serious drive for the remainder of the second quarter yet after the homecoming activities during halftime, the Greenwave pounced on Elko.
Nemeth recovered the Indians’ onside kick on the Fallon 48, yet it was the Elko defense that couldn’t contain McCormick, who eluded the defensive line for the entire night.
Twice, the Elko defense flushed McCormick out of the pocket, and twice he made Elko pay.
McCormick gained 21 yards up the middle, and on the second attempt, McCormick snaked his way down the field for 28 yards. McCormick’s keeper from the 2-yard line at 8:01 gave the Wave a 26-0 lead.
Elko, though, caught a break on its next series, which resulted in the Indians’ first touchdown.
The Fallon defense, which apparently had shut down Elko on four plays, made a crucial mistake on a fourth and 10 from midfield. Fallon roughed the kicker, and the penalty awarded Elko with a first down. Elko ran Byington on five plays mostly up the middle or on the right side off tackle. Byington scored on a 2-yard run early in the fourth quarter.
“I think we played really well, but we gave up the ball on a penalty on the punt. You give a team a short field, and they’ll take advantage of it,” Hill said.
McCormick accounted for Fallon’s final touchdown in the fourth quarter, which was set up with a pinpoint 42-yard to pass to Steelmon down the sideline. On the third play from the 2, McCormick barreled over from the left to pad Fallon’s lead to 32-7.
“That was a short pass inside, and we almost made it to the end zone,” McCormick said.
Byington’s 42-yard touchdown late in the final quarter combined with an extra point reduced Fallon’s lead to 32-14.
Hill said the defense played well, and cited Brenden Larsen and Trent Thorn for plugging the middle. Hill, though said the defense must work on containing the outside run because the Wave will see something similar when it plays Spring Creek next week.
Although Byington found daylight with his outside running, Thorn said the defense’s first unit was ready for him.
“We all trusted the outside backer, and they did their jobs,” he said.
Thorn said the team was satisfied with the homecoming win and performance before the Greenwave Hall of Fame inductees who attended the game.
“The community and their support got us hyped,” he said.
GREENWAVE NOTES — Tony Klenakis Sr., who guided Fallon to three consecutive state AA championships in the mid-1970s, was honorary captain during the coin toss. He was also Larry Barker’s guest at halftime on the radio broadcast of the game.
Running back Reid Clyburn re-injured his ankle in the second half and is doubtful for Friday night’s Sparks game.
Friday night is Senior Night, the last regular home game of the season.