Fallbrook Warriors put a collar on the Escondido Cougars in their November 1 game, final score 49-26
Monday, November 4th, 2013
Issue 45, Volume 17.
Warrior gridders win league match at Escondido
Village News Correspondent
Fallbrook High School's football team won its first Avocado East League match of the 2013 season by defeating Escondido on the Cougars' field November 1.
The Warriors' 49-26 victory gives Fallbrook a 2-6 overall record along with a 1-3 league statistic entering Friday's home game against Rancho Buena Vista which will close out the regular season.
"We finally put together a full four quarters of football," said Fallbrook head coach Kyle Williams.
"Our line did a great job of creating holes for the backs to run through," Williams said. "Rarely did our running backs ever fall backwards. We were falling forward most of the night."
Fallbrook's offensive line consists primarily of center Steven Branham, offensive tackles Alejandro Estrada, Matthew May, and Jason Whitesell, offensive guards Jaime Cachero and Collin Dowling, and tight end Ian Crilli.
Crilli also caught an 80-yard touchdown pass while one of Fallbrook's touchdowns was a 60-yard interception return by Edwin Velasquez. Rushing plays accounted for Fallbrook's other five touchdowns and Parker Roberson was successful on all seven extra point attempts.
Fallbrook is in Division III for CIF playoff purposes. Saturday's CIF playoff selection and seeding meeting will determine whether the Warriors' opposition during the season will be sufficient to overcome Fallbrook's on-field record. "We're hoping to get into the playoffs based on our strength of schedule," Williams said.
"We played one of the most difficult schedules in the county," Williams said. "We're just hoping that those games are preparing us."
Williams and his players realized that a second season win, especially against a higher-division team such as Escondido, would enhance the Warriors' chance for a playoff berth. "We were treating it as a playoff game. If we wanted any chance to get into the playoffs, we knew we needed to win," Williams said.
Fallbrook opened the scoring on the Warriors' second drive of the game when Hayden Loer ran 30 yards for a touchdown. The Cougars tied the game, but on the second play of Fallbrook's next possession Landon Benner passed to Crilli for the 80-yard score. Benner threw two passes against Escondido, completing both for a total of 105 yards along with one touchdown.
An Escondido passing touchdown and corresponding extra point tied the game at 14-14. "We helped them out a little bit with 30 yards of penalties on that drive," Williams said.
The two 15-yard penalties were for a late hit out of bounds and for pass interference. The Warriors responded to the Cougar touchdown with seven points of their own: a 25-yard run by Boston Menossi into the end zone and Roberson's kick.
Late in the second period Alex McCarty halted an Escondido drive with an interception. In addition to the interceptions by McCarty and Velasquez, Roberto Ramirez picked off an Escondido pass during the fourth quarter. The Warriors did not turn over the ball during the game.
"For us to have no turnovers and three takeaways, it was our kids who were making the big plays tonight so that was really the difference in being able to put the game away," Williams said.
This year's win over Escondido constituted the first time Fallbrook led both at halftime and after the final whistle since the Warriors defeated the Cougars in last year's league match. Fallbrook's only previous victory this season, a 55-23 triumph over University City, saw the Warriors overcome a 17-14 Centurions halftime lead. Fallbrook's October 18 game against El Camino included a 14-7 Warrior lead at the half before the Wildcats came back for a 28-14 victory. "Our talk at halftime was we've been there before. We led against El Camino, but we didn't finish that one off," Williams said.
The Warriors failed to obtain a first down on their first possession of the third quarter and were forced to punt. On the second play of their ensuing possession, the Cougars narrowed the margin with an 80-yard touchdown.
John Gonazlez and Nathan Montgomery put pressure on the Cougar kicker, who missed the extra point. In Fallbrook's September 20 game against Del Norte, a missed extra point was the difference in the Nighthawks' 35-34 win. "It was nice for us to finally catch some of those breaks," Williams said.
Fallbrook scored on its next possession which culminated with Menossi's three-yard touchdown run. "That was huge for our team to respond that way. They weren't waiting for something bad to happen," Williams said. "After that point we never looked back."
The third quarter ended with Fallbrook leading by a 35-20 margin. The Warriors' fifth touchdown drive included Benner obtaining first-down yardage on a quarterback sneak when the Warriors were faced with fourth down one yard short of the first-down marker. On the next play Loer ran 15 yards into the end zone.
Trevino Cordova broke multiple tackles for a 22-yard touchdown run early in the fourth quarter. A 55-yard screen pass with seven minutes remaining gave the Cougars their final touchdown, although once again the kick for the extra point was not successful. Escondido attempted an onside kick, but Andy Iniesta recovered for the Warriors.
A pair of first downs on Fallbrook's ensuing possession ran down the clock before the Warriors eventually punted. Velasquez's interception return for a touchdown took place with about three minutes remaining.
"Just really happy for the boys. They've worked really hard," Williams said of what was also his first league win as Fallbrook's head coach. "Hopefully it's a program-changer for us."
Williams believes that the ability to win will be reflected in the players' mentality. "Now they know that they can do it, so we expect it to happen for us often in the future," he said.
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