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Early start helps Warriors to 46-8 grid win over Cougars

Joe Naiman

Village News Reporter

The Oct. 14 home game was the third Valley League contest for Fallbrook High School’s football team this year. The Warriors trailed in their first two league games, although Fallbrook was able to pull out the victory both times. Fallbrook’s 46-8 victory Oct. 14 over Escondido included the Warriors scoring on their first five possessions.

“I was happy that we did what we wanted to do. We started fast,” said Fallbrook head coach Ross Johnson. “It was good to see us score early and often in the first half.”

Gabe Mendoza, who is normally the starting right guard, was injured and did not play. Sam Corona was the starting right guard in the offensive line which also included Sean Daley at left tackle, James Jones at left guard, Jayms McAlexander at center, and Gavin Miller at right tackle along with blocking by tight end Kaleb Collings and fullback Sean Farish.

Collings caught a touchdown pass from Evan Thomas, who completed all six of his attempts and threw for 99 yards. Three rushing touchdowns were scored by Chris Bausch, who had 162 yards on 14 carries. The other three Fallbrook touchdowns were on runs by Alan Leon, whose six carries totaled 99 yards.

“We had a good offensive performance for sure. We were efficient with both the rushing and the passing game,” Johnson said.

The score was 33-0 at halftime. “We did have a couple of extra points that were blocked,” Johnson said.

“The first one they got, they really made a good play,” Johnson said. “The second one, we had a protection breakdown and we let somebody through the inside.”

After three periods, Fallbrook had a 46-0 advantage, but for the third time in the game an extra point attempt was unsuccessful and not the fault of placekicker Josh Gomez, who kicked four extra points. “Definitely something for us to address this week,” Johnson said.

Escondido scored a touchdown and two-point conversion on the second-to-last drive of the game, by which time Johnson had put in his substitutes. “Another good performance by them,” Johnson said of the Warriors’ defense.

The only turnover by either team in the game was when Farish forced an Escondido fumble and then recovered the ball. Farish also had two sacks and Collings sacked the quarterback twice. Jonah Saliba had five pass breakups.

“We played a pretty good game, and we did what we needed to do,” Johnson said.

Johnson is a 2007 Escondido High School graduate who played tight end and linebacker for the Cougars, and he had been an Escondido assistant coach for 14 years before taking the Fallbrook head coaching position in March. To some extent the game against Escondido wasn’t like any other Valley League game. “It’s a little different,” Johnson said.

Many of Escondido’s seniors had been coached by Johnson over the past three years. Some of those players were injured when the Cougars played at Fallbrook. “They’ve had a tough season,” Johnson said.

Escondido has lost all four Valley League games this year. The Cougars are 3-6 overall. Johnson had no qualms about giving the Cougars one of their losses. “Once it’s gametime, it’s gametime,” he said.

The victory over Escondido gave Fallbrook a 3-0 Valley League record along with a 6-2 overall mark.

The Warriors travel to San Pasqual tomorrow, and a Fallbrook victory would clinch at least a share of the league championship for the Warriors. “I’m excited about that opportunity,” Johnson said. “It will be a big game this week.”

 

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