Now it counts

Fallon quarterback Joe Pyle leads the Greenwave into Saturday's Northern Division I-A opener at Truckee.

Fallon quarterback Joe Pyle leads the Greenwave into Saturday's Northern Division I-A opener at Truckee.

There is no rear-view mirror. No looking back for the Fallon football team.

What has become tradition and necessary, though, is looking forward and improving.

Those traits are preached each week and the past six days has been no different as the Greenwave visit Truckee at 1:30 p.m. Saturday.

“We just move on to the next opponent,” Fallon coach Brooke Hill said. “We looked at a lot of film, the good things and the bad, and we’ll learn from those things. It was good to have a nonleague game and have some of those things happen.”

Now, though, costly mistakes could threaten a Northern Division I-A championship as league play for both teams commences Saturday.

Fallon is coming off a 56-32 loss to Cardinal Newman (Calif.), while the Wolverines shutout defending DIII state champ Yerington, 14-0.

The corrections, Hill said, starts with better tackling as Cardinal Newman’s skill players broke numerous attempts leading to several big plays including an 82-yard touchdown pass.

Staying on the defensive front, Hill said better gap control on the line is a must and, perhaps most importantly, less freelancing by individual players leading to breakdowns within the scheme.

Riley Williams led the Wave with 18 total tackles and safety Connor Richardson added 13. The defense also forced three turnovers (all three fumbles) against the Cardinals.

The Wolverines started slow but managed to hold Yerington to 77 total yards, while the offense tallied 271 yards — 225 yards on the ground — to open the season.

“That’s not how we run our defense,” he added. “Once we do, we will be good, but if some guys are doing too much or doing too little, that’s when you run into problems.”

The positives from the first game, however, were the effort, running game and experience.

Nathan Heck ran for 162 yards and two touchdowns on 10 carries. The Wave rushed for 225 yards on 30 carries against Cardinal Newman.

“That’s one of the things we wanted to establish early,” Hill said of the running game. “We made a concerted effort to do that. That will be huge for us.”

Joe Pyle, who made his first varsity start, completed 6 of 13 pass attempts for 110 yards and one interception. Dylan Jabines led the receiving corps with three catches for 70 yards, while Richardson, who played sparingly in the Wave’s playoff run, added three receptions for 40 yards.

“Hopefully, we can achieve more balance,” Hill said.

Despite the win over Yerington, Truckee struggled last season to a 3-6 record after winning four straight DI-A state titles.

Fallon rolled the Wolverines, 54-19, and racked up 620 yards of total offense. Truckee managed 272 yards of offense in one of its biggest losses of the season.

This year, however, Hill said he sees a more confident and experienced opponent.

“We see a more physical football team,” he added. “They always play good defense and they are a confident group.”

Hill, though, said his team must focus on the details to improve and come out victorious on Saturday. Despite a shaky first game from Pyle, Hill expects a better performance, although the senior signal caller is still feeling the effects of a thumb injury on his throwing hand he suffered in the scrimmage against Spanish Springs.

In addition, Fallon returns several players who were suspended for the first game including all-state receiver Tyler Bagby. Hill said Bagby will play special teams but did not guarantee any time on offense or defense.

Pyle’s health, meanwhile, is key for Fallon to resume its aerial attack, which adds another dimension to the offense.

“He was probably 80, 85 percent last week,” Hill said. “Joe will be close to 100 percent this week. I expect every game of his to be better.”


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