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Warriors achieve largest victory margin in grid program history

Joe Naiman

Village News Reporter

Fallbrook High School’s football team hosted San Ysidro on Sept. 1, and the Warriors’ 67-0 win constituted the largest Fallbrook margin of victory in team history.

“It went well,” said Fallbrook head coach Ross Johnson.

“We consistently got stops on defense and moved the ball on offense,” Johnson said. “That was exciting to see.”

Fallbrook has a varsity roster of 50 players, and all of the substitutes were able to see action. “Got a lot of kids a lot of playing time,” Johnson said. “It’s always nice to get kids some good competitive reps.”

Reps means repetition of activity. Johnson was able to rest some starters prior to halftime when the score was 34-0. Fallbrook’s first play of the second half was an 89-yard touchdown pass, and Johnson removed the rest of his starters after that.

“We really had all 50 guys who suited up on the same page,” Johnson said. “That was encouraging to see.”

The touchdown pass to start the second half was also the final pass Fallbrook threw. “We stayed pretty conservative on our offense,” Johnson said.

The rushing plays utilized substitute running backs. “All of them ended up scoring rushing touchdowns,” Johnson said.

Altogether seven different players, including four running backs, scored touchdowns. “It was good to see the scoring get spread around,” Johnson said.

The Warriors’ 59 total tackles included eight behind the line of scrimmage. Fallbrook had no turnovers but recovered three fumbles. Three different Fallbrook players – senior Jordan Reyburn, junior Ethaniel Bustos, and junior Cayden Smith – recovered the fumbles.

Three of the 10 extra point attempts were unsuccessful. Johnson attributes that to snap exchanges rather than to the accuracy of senior Josh Gomez, who made the other seven attempts. “That’s one of the things that we’ll have to clean up a little bit,” Johnson said.

Fallbrook scored on every possession except the Warriors’ first one, in which sophomore quarterback Evan Thomas threw three incomplete passes. “There were a couple of routes that weren’t very clean routes,” Johnson said. “A couple of those throws were great throws.”

Quarterback completion percentage may not be the most important aspect. If a quarterback can throw near enough to a receiver that no intentional grounding penalty is called, he has one more incomplete pass than if he is sacked, but an incomplete pass has no yardage loss. That was the case for some of Thomas’ incomplete passes. “He did a good job of getting rid of the ball instead of taking a sack,” Johnson said.

Thomas completed nine of 17 passes during the game for a total of 287 yards. He threw three touchdowns: two in the first half to senior Peyton Van Eik and the 89-yard screen pass to senior Sean Farish to begin the second half. Thomas also scored a first-half touchdown on a quarterback sneak. Van Eik had a total of 117 receiving yards on three receptions.

The other two first-half touchdowns were on runs by junior Chris Bausch, who gained 117 yards on six carries. Fallbrook scored five touchdowns in each half. Two of the second-half touchdowns were on rushes by junior Alex Leon. The other two touchdowns were run into the end zone by senior Alex Nieto and junior Jackson Christopherson.

The first-half touchdowns were made possible in part by Fallbrook’s starting offensive line: senior Sean Daley at left tackle, junior James Jones at left guard, senior Jayms McAlexander at center, junior Gabe Mendoza at right guard, and senior Gavin Miller at right tackle. Blocking was also provided by senior tight end Kaleb Collings and by Farish, who is Fallbrook’s starting fullback and also the Warriors’ second tight end when that formation is used. “They did a great job up front again,” Johnson said.

The game was the third in Fallbrook High School history in which the Warriors scored at least 60 points. Fallbrook’s 1999 win over Hilltop had a 63-11 score. The team record for most points in a game was set in 2015, when Fallbrook defeated Orange Glen by a 69-6 margin. That game was also Fallbrook’s largest margin of victory prior to Sept. 1.

“We executed well,” Johnson said.

Fallbrook’s previous game, Aug. 26, was a 21-0 road triumph against Santa Fe Christian. The win over San Ysidro gave the Warriors two consecutive shutouts for the first time since 1984, when Fallbrook achieved a pair of consecutive 21-0 victories over Orange Glen and Mount Carmel.

San Ysidro was also the victim of Fallbrook’s previous shutout prior to this year. Last year, the Warriors hosted San Ysidro in the first round of the CIF Division V playoffs and prevailed by a 49-0 margin. Fallbrook has been moved up to Division IV this year.

Normally high school football games are played on a Friday. A referee shortage has caused several games this season to be moved to Thursdays, including the win over San Ysidro and tonight’s game at Santana. “It’s a little bit of a funky week. It kind of throws off our practice,” Johnson said.

One fewer day of practice didn’t hinder the Warriors against San Ysidro. “I do give our players a lot of credit for being adaptable,” Johnson said. “It was good to see them locked in and ready to go.”


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