Wave football earns all-state honors
While it wasn’t the year they hoped for, several Greenwave football players garnered all-state recognition.
Two players nabbed first-team honors, two were named to the second-team and four were honorable mentions after Fallon qualified for the playoffs and upset Elko on the road during playoffs prior to its exit loss at Spring Creek.
Senior running back Cade Vercellotti broke school records this season and was selected to the first team while senior lineman TJ Mauga was a first-team selection on offense.
“Both of them are very, very deserving,” Fallon coach Brooke Hill said of his two first-team selections. “Cade was one of the top running backs in the state. Cade had a really strong season. He really carried us this year.”
Vercellotti steamrolled the competition the last two seasons and was a driving force to Fallon’s state title win last year. He finished with 2,747 career yards, 48 career touchdowns and 1,597 yards in 2016 – all three are now school records.
It helped having Mauga anchor the offensive line that created gaping holes for Vercellotti to break free and run downfield into the end zone.
“TJ was just solid for us the last two years on both sides of the ball,” Hill said. “We asked a lot of him. He came through for us. He was worthy of being lineman of the year in the state.”
Mauga was also a second-team selection on defense, along with senior linebacker Brock Uptain. Mauga tallied 73 total tackles, including 18 for loss, and eight sacks, while Uptain was second on the team with 76 total tackles, including 20 for loss.
North honorable mentions included senior quarterback Connor Nelson, Uptain at receiver, senior cornerback Jack Swisher and junior safety Dalton Kaady.
“He did a really good job for us. He was our team MVP voted on by the players,” Hill said of Uptain. “Defensively, he really stepped us as he was the only returning linebacker from last year’s group.
“There are some really strong receivers. For him to get an all-state nod was pretty impressive.”
Nelson entered the picture midseason and immediately gave the offense a spark with his dual threat capabilities. He completed 58 percent of his passes for 761 yards and eight touchdowns to back up his 88.9 quarterback rating. Nelson also rushed for 530 yards on 88 carries and seven touchdowns
“Conner stepped in at quarterback for us and really took over that position,” Hill said. “He sacrificed for the team. He was an all-league, all-state receiver for last year. It just shows the versatile athlete he is.”
Uptain broke the school record with 103 career receptions after posting 45 receptions for 539 yards this season. He also hauled in three touchdowns.
Swisher had 61 total tackles, including six for loss, and one interception, while Kaady led the team with seven interceptions, including a pick-6 against Sparks.
“We had some holes in the secondary from guys that graduated. Those guys stepped in and had a solid season,” Hill said of Swisher and Kaady.
Desert Pines’ Tico Rodriguez was named the coach of the year after guiding the Jaguars to the state championship while Isaiah Morris was named the MVP. Jalen Graves was selected as the defensive player of the year and teammate Poutasi Poutasi was the lineman of year. Spring Creek quarterback Jon Jund was the only northern player to receive player of the year honors for his work on offense.