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Panthers rumble past Warriors 27-7 - Postseason play ends for Fallbrook football

On Friday, November 27, the Fallbrook High School varsity football team played the Vista Panthers for a Division 1 semifinal spot in the CIF San Diego Section playoffs. The previous week, the Warriors upset the Ranch Bernardo Broncos by a score of 7-6 to reach the quarterfinals. This was Fallbrook’s second consecutive year reaching this stage of the playoffs. However, the Panthers ended the Warriors postseason run with a 27-7 victory.

The Warriors received the ball first to begin the game. Their first possession ended on a one-handed interception by a Panther defender. Fortunately for Fallbrook, a fumble allowed them to regain possession of the ball. After a Warrior punt, Vista found the end zone first, on a four-yard run. After a botched field goal, the Warriors trailed 6-0.

In the second quarter, the Warriors continued to struggle as they turned the ball over on a fumble after reaching Panther’s territory. Vista quickly picked up four first downs and pounded in a one-yard run to extend their lead to 13-0. On the following Warrior’s possession, the Panthers picked off Christopher Fuetterer for the second time. However, this time they returned it 25 yards for another Vista score. At the end of the half, Fallbrook trailed 20-0.

In the third quarter, the Warriors breathed a sigh of relief as they blocked a field goal attempt, keeping it a three-possession game. After another Fallbrook punt, the Panthers scored on the very next play on a 51-yard play action pass, completely throwing off the Warrior defense. Vista had only thrown the ball once before the touchdown pass. At the end of the third period, the Panthers led 27-0.

After three full quarters, the Warriors finally scored on a four-yard touchdown run by Jarred Moore. Fallbrook then gained more momentum by recovering an onside kick. The drive ended with a punt, but the Warriors regained possession by recovering Vista’s seventh fumble of the game. The comeback hopes for Fallbrook ended as they threw an interception for the third time. The Panthers took the victory on their home field, 27-7.

The Warriors were given many opportunities throughout the game, but the Panthers proved worthy to move on in the postseason with a date against the undefeated La Costa Canyon Mavericks on December 4.

“I’m not too proud about the outcome of the game, but I thought our team fought hard for four quarters,” said Fallbrook senior cornerback Caleb Sumpter.

After the game, Fallbrook coach Joe Silvey said, “I thought we came out here and battled hard, but [Vista] came out on top because they are a superior football team.”

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