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Warriors return to grid winning ways

Joe Naiman

Village News Reporter

A 28-21 home victory Sept. 7 over Santana High School gave Fallbrook High School’s football team a 3-1 record for 2023.

“Great to get a win,” said Fallbrook head coach Ross Johnson. “I like the way we responded after a tough game.”

Fallbrook hosted Great Oak on Sept. 1. The Wolfpack won by a 34-0 margin and had 431 yards of total offense compared to 166 for the Warriors. The Warriors also committed their first turnover of the season on a fumbled snap.

“We weren’t super proud of our performance,” Johnson said.

Four injured Fallbrook players did not see action against the Wolfpack. “We had a few guys who were playing out of position,” Johnson said.

The Warriors did not let the loss affect their play Sept. 7. “We looked a lot more comfortable this week,” Johnson said.

Fallbrook built up a 21-0 lead against Santana. “We let them tie it,” Johnson said.

A fourth-quarter touchdown returned the lead to Fallbrook and held up as the difference in the final score.

Fallbrook’s first possession was a 50-yard scoring drive which culminated in a 17-yard Chris Bausch touchdown run. All of the plays were runs. “They did a good job of executing them right from the start,” Johnson said.

On the Sultans’ first possession, they advanced to the Fallbrook 15 before turning the ball over on downs. The Warriors responded with an 85-yard touchdown drive which ended on a one-yard run by Bausch.

“We didn’t throw the ball once on that drive either,” Johnson said.

Preston McCarthy had two sacks for the night including one on Santana’s ensuing possession which allowed Fallbrook to hold the Sultans without a first down and force a punt. Fallbrook fumbled on the next series of downs and Santana recovered, but the Sultans turned the ball over on downs at the Fallbrook 49 with about two minutes left in the half.

“We finally put the ball in the air,” Johnson said.

The desire for a quick touchdown before time expired was achieved on a 41-yard screen pass from Evan Thomas to Wilson Christopherson. That gave the Warriors three touchdowns in their first four possessions.

“Started off fast, which was nice,” Johnson said.

With about ten seconds remaining in the half, a 46-yard Santana touchdown pass and the extra point created a 21-7 score.

Santana received the second-half kickoff and eventually scored on a 16-yard touchdown pass. “It was unfortunately another blown coverage,” Johnson said. “Left the guy all alone in the end zone on that one.”

The Warriors failed to make the first down after the kickoff and punted. A 22-yard touchdown pass on fourth down and the conversion kick tied the game.

“They got us on a double pass,” Johnson said.

The first pass was actually a lateral from the quarterback to the wide receiver, who threw to the slot receiver for the touchdown.

The Warriors scored on their next possession. “There was some frustration, which there should be when you make a couple of mental errors like that, but they didn’t shy away from competition,” Johnson said.

The first play of that possession was a 27-yard pass from Thomas to Kyle Collings. The final play with nearly half of the fourth quarter elapsed was an eight-yard touchdown run by Grant Hall.

The next Santana possession ended when Will Sherman intercepted a pass. The Warriors eventually turned the ball over on downs at the Santana 30 with about four minutes remaining.

“We were able to hold them,” Johnson said.

The Sultans advanced to the Fallbrook 48 before McCarthy’s second sack took the ball back to the Santana 40. The Sultans turned the ball over on downs with about two minutes left in the game.

Fallbrook ran down the clock to 20 seconds before a turnover on downs. The Sultans tried three passes to try to tie the score, but all three were incomplete and time expired.

“We had a little adversity there for a little bit and did a nice job of responding and finishing the game,” Johnson said.

Fallbrook had a total of four sacks with Cayden Smith and Collings having one apiece. Bausch carried the ball 16 times, including his two touchdown runs, and gained 116 yards. Thomas completed five of his eight passes for 111 yards. Christopherson caught two of those passes for 74 yards.

The loss was the first of the season for Santana. The Sultans had previously outscored Canyon Hills, Sweetwater, and Coronado by a combined 92-29 margin.

Fallbrook hosts La Costa Canyon in tomorrow night’s game.

 

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