Robert Perea, The Fernley Reporter
Before the two teams lined up for the opening kickoff Friday night, Fernley coach Chris Ward told Fallon coach Brooke Hill that he believes this year’s Greenwave team is the best Hill has had since taking over as Fallon coach in 2009, including his 2013 state championship squad.
After seeing Fallon dominate his team in a 40-0 victory, Ward doubled down on that belief.
“They’re damn good,” Ward said. “I told Brooke before the game, I think this might be the best team you’ve ever had. And he goes, yeah, the first group, but we’re not deep. You don’t need to be fricking deep when you do it like that.”
Fallon (2-0 overall and in the Northern 3A) had eight plays of more than 20 yards, accounting for 294 of their 463 total yards, and held Fernley (0-3, 0-2) to 164 yards.
“It was big because what they do, they do really well, and for us to do and take care of business like we did and execute the defensive game plan bodes well for us,” Hill said. “We’ve got a lot more stuff we can still put in, and very similarly to our 2013 team being able to add a little bit here and there and be able to adjust as we go.”
Fallon established itself immediately on both sides of the line of scrimmage.
Fernley went 3-and-out n its first possession, then tried a little trickery with a fake punt on fourth-and-1 from its own 34-yard line, but was stuffed for no gain.
On the Greenwave’s first offensive play, quarterback Elijah Jackson flared screen pass to Brock Richardson, who took it 34 yards for a touchdown.
After Fernley again went 3-and-out and punted, Jackson connected with Richardson, who juggled a shot pass over the middle then ran for 40 yards, and for 43 yards to Tommy McCormick, who took another short pass and broke a tackle for 43 yards. Jackson’s 1-yard touchdown run made it 13-0 with 6:01 still left in the first quarter. After just five offensive plays, Fallon had 127 total yards and a 13-0 lead
“We want to start out strong against everybody, so it’s something we do push for and we definitely talk about,” Hill said. “We want the kids to come out and execute and we did early, and then the injury happened and kind of took the wind out of our sails a little bit and we had to regroup.”
Fallon running back Reid Clyburn injured his knee on a one-yard run late in the second quarter and was taken to the hospital to get examined, and Hill said he didn’t yet know the extent of the injury.
Fernley had two scoring chances in the first half, and came up empty both times.
Anthony Thompson returned apunt 32 yards to the Fallon 13, and a 9-yard run by Logan Kibbe took the ball to the 4. But from there, the a holding call and an incomplete pass forced them to try a 29-yard field goal, which was blocked.
After Richardson scored on a 1-yard run with 5:31 left in the half for a 20-0 lead, Fernley marched from its own 30 to the Fallon 9, but on fourth down, Richardson intercepted Cooper Henderson’s pass in the end zone.
Three plays later, Jackson ran untouched on a 71-yard zone read keeper on the last play of the half for a 27-0 lead.
“They were putting the nail in the coffin right there,” Ward said. “They were setting a statement. I probably would have done the same thing if I had a chance.”
After having beaten Spring Creek and Fernley in the first two games of the season, the Greenwave faces an early showdown next Saturday in Truckee in a battle of what looks like the two best teams in the league. Fernley, meanwhile, will host Lowry Friday night in search of its first win, after facing what Ward believes will be their three toughest opponents to start the season.
“I just told them, don’t let these first three games define your season,” Ward said. “I think we’re as good as anybody else on our schedule, maybe better. We just have to go our and prove it now.”
Fernley stats Passing: Henderson 6-21-1-0, 83 yards Rushing: Henderson 8-7, Kibbe 15-43, Steele 3-6, Halterman 2-2, Thompson 1-14, Kuha 1-2, Reyes 2-7 Receiving: Steele 2-30, Halterman 2-18, Thompson 2-35