A new wrinkle added to the run game made the Greenwave more dangerous on the ground last week.
Throwing in a senior receiver at quarterback led to two rushing touchdowns in the second half as Fallon blasted past Wooster in the team’s football home opener.
“We just wanted to have a little bit of a different look,” Fallon coach Brooke Hill said. “Christian (Nemeth) played well. Conner (Nelson) gives us more with his legs and he’s a capable passer.”
As the Greenwave visits South Tahoe tonight, Hill will continue with Nemeth as his starting quarterback, but has Nelson in his pocket when the opportunity is right. Kickoff is at 7 p.m. The game is on KTUU FM 99.5.
Fallon and South Tahoe, both 2-1 in the Northern 3A, are tied for fourth in the standings as Truckee, Spring Creek and Elko are in a three-way tie for first at 3-0. Neither undefeated team has played one another but Elko visits Truckee next week.
“(Fallon) is just such a good physical team,” South Tahoe coach Louis Franklin said. “They’re a really well-coached team. They’re the defending state champs.”
Franklin sees tonight’s clash as the game of week with both teams possessing identical records.
“We’re excited, Franklin said. “The league’s going to even out. You’re going to see a lot of the teams in the 2-3 and 3-2 range.”
After a shaky start against the rising Colts last week, Fallon’s defense clamped together and receiver Nelson filled in at quarterback, giving the team a dangerous running game in the 34-14 victory over the Reno school. With Cade Vercellotti’s 136 yards on the ground, Nelson’s two rushing touchdowns and Brock Uptain’s 126 receiving yards, Fallon raced past Wooster in the second half.
“They played pretty well. I was really impressed with Wooster,” Hill said. “We started a little slow and picked it up. There are still a couple breakdowns that lead to scores on big plays. It’s been plaguing us and we’ve got to stop that.”
Nemeth ranks second in the league with 549 yards and has improved each week despite completing only 43 percent of his passes. Vercellotti is the league’s best running back with 437 yards.
“He’s making the jump from JV to varsity football. I saw a lot of improvement from Week 1,” Hill said of his gunslinger. “He’s just got to be more consistent. He’s missing some throws, definitely, but he’s working on that in practice.”
This week’s challenge is South Tahoe, which used a second-string quarterback to blow out Fernley and saw a defense improve immensely after allowing 51 points in a loss to Spring Creek. Senior quarterback Tommy Cefalu suffered a season-ending injury against Spring Creek last week.
“That’s why the Fernley game was so important for us,” Franklin said. “(Peyton Galli) did a great job for us. He’s never really played before. It was important for us to get him going.”
Galli, a junior, threw three touchdowns and 441 yards in his first varsity start and the Viking defense stopped the triple option as they embarrassed Fernley, 36-8. The defense forced six turnovers, and limited the triple option offense to 151 yards for South Tahoe’s first win over Fernley in six years.
“Defensively, that was a great thing for us,” Franklin said. “We all responded.”
Fallon will also need to watch out tonight for seniors Dylan Gooding and Tyler Ritter, who highlight the Vikings’ secondary with 34 tackles apiece. Both have combined for three interceptions.
Hill said the defense will have a challenge with South Tahoe, which has lived on the big play this season. Of the eight scoring drives that led to touchdowns, five have resulted from big plays of 40 yards or more.
“They’re well coached and a fairly confident team,” Hill said. “A lot of that (defensive miscues) is assignment error, mental error. Hopefully, we turn the corner and don’t use that as an excuse.”
Fallon returns home next week against Dayton, which was originally scheduled as homecoming. The homecoming game was rescheduled this week for the Oct. 14 game against Spring Creek.