Planning to derail Sparks tonight
LVN Editor Emeritus
Two teams going in opposite directions face each other tonight in the Greenwave’s final regular season football game at the Edward Arciniega Athletic Complex.
Senior Night kicks off at 7 p.m., and KTUU radio (99.5 FM) begins its broadcast at 6:45 p.m. with play-by-play announcer Larry Barker and analyst Randy Beeghly, who was inducted into the Greenwave Hall of Fame Saturday night.
This year’s team has a small group of seniors, and they will be recognized prior to kickoff.
The Railroaders come into tonight’s game with a 2-5 overall record, 2-4 in the Northern 3A under first-year coach Brad Rose. The Railroaders own wins over Dayton and Elko, a 24-13 upset one month ago at Tip Whitehead Field in Sparks. Truckee shut out the Railroaders last week, 50-0, while Fallon’s sixth win came last Friday, 32-14, against Elko in the Greenwave’s homecoming game.
“Sparks is an improved team from last year,” said Fallon head coach Brooke Hill. “They like to spread out to get their running game going. They’re a lot like us but do it differently.”
Both Sparks and Fallon love to grind out the running game. The Railroaders depend on three players who have respectable statistics this season. Jorge Dominguez leads a trio of backs with 542 yards on 110 carries. Quarterback Vashisth Patel has rushed 52 times for 333 yards, and completed 36 of 82 passes for 288 yards, but he has also thrown seven interceptions. Carlos Rodriquez rounds out the trio with 286 yards on 30 carries.
“Patel is a big kid, but all three are good athletes. They’re (offensive line) big up front and definitely a force with the running game,” Hill pointed out.
Although Patel doesn’t throw much, Hill said he still has concerns with the play-action pass, something Fallon needs to read and cover.
Fallon, which lost to league-leading Fernley in the second week, has rolled to a 5-1 Northern 3A record, 6-1 overall. The Sparks’ defense will be working overtime trying to contain Fallon’s running game and denying the long passing routes.
“Teams can’t key on just one thing,” Hill said. “We have been able to run the ball effectively, and when opponents overload, then we throw.”
In junior Sean McCormick, Fallon has a double threat. He rushed for 178 yards against Elko and threw for 138. He figured into four of Fallon’s five touchdowns against Elko. McCormick picked up big yardage last week when Elko’s defense flushed him out of the pocket, and he found the middle wide open.
“Sean’s very much a kid we can do a lot with,” Hill said.
According to Hill, McCormick is becoming more comfortable with his passing game since stepping in two weeks ago for the injured Elijah Jackson. McCormick has completed 17 of 25 passes for 332 yards and four touchdowns. Hill said he wants McCormick to throw as much as Jackson in a game.
“He has had a great season overall and has two games at quarterback,” Hill said. “He’ll be a lot better down the run.”
Fallon’s offense hasn’t lost a step, but Jackson did frustrate opponents by passing for 882 yards and 10 touchdowns. Like McCormick, Jackson loved to scramble and make the big plays. Fallon does bring in a balanced offense, rushing for 1,652 yards, and passing for 1,214. Hill said he has pushed for a balance offense during his tenure as the Greenwave’s head coach.
Running back Reid Clyburn, though, re-injured his ankle during the second half one week ago and will be out this week. Hill said he will evaluate the speedy Clyburn on a game-by-game basis.
With this being the final regular season game at home, Hill said the players will be more than ready to face Sparks before heading to Spring Creek next week and Lowry on Oct. 26.