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Warriors break four-game losing streak

Joe Naiman

Village News Reporter

Fallbrook High School’s football team broke a four-game losing streak Oct. 20 with a 42-21 home victory over Mount Carmel.

The result gives the Warriors a 4-5 overall record and a 1-3 Palomar League mark entering tomorrow’s regular season finale at Ramona. Saturday’s CIF playoff selection and seeding meeting will determine if Fallbrook will have subsequent home games this year.

“We played well for the most part, made some adjustments,” said Fallbrook head coach Ross Johnson.

Fallbrook’s previous win was Sept. 7 at home against Santana. The Warriors closed out pre-league play Sept. 15 with a 49-7 home loss against La Costa Canyon and began league competition against two teams which will take 4-0 league records into their game with each other tomorrow night. San Marcos obtained a 34-12 win Sept. 29 at Fallbrook and the Warriors then lost a 35-6 contest Oct. 6 at Del Norte.

The Warriors’ Oct. 13 game at Rancho Bernardo was also a loss, but the 31-26 score meant that Fallbrook was more competitive in that match. “We had a real good chance against RB,” Johnson said.

Last year’s Fallbrook team which reached the CIF Division IV final had a 9-4 overall record including playoff games, and the Warriors were 4‑1 in Valley League play to share the league championship with San Pasqual. Fallbrook was moved into Division III for CIF playoff purposes this year, and the Warriors were transferred to the higher-level Palomar League.

“We knew that we were going to have a significantly more difficult schedule compared to last year,” Johnson said. “When you play teams as good as the ones that we’re playing, the margin for error is really, really slim.”

The errors Fallbrook made resulted in losses but also provided lessons the players incorporated into subsequent games. “We’re improving every week,” Johnson said.

Fallbrook and Mount Carmel both had 3-5 overall records, including 0‑3 in Palomar League competition, entering their Oct. 20 game against each other. “A lot of things worked really well for us,” Johnson said. “A lot of big plays on both sides of the ball.”

Senior Night festivities preceded the Oct. 20 game, and seniors provided the Warriors with three interceptions and four sacks. Will Sherman picked off two passes and George Aguilar intercepted one throw. Kyle Collings had a first-half sack; Preston McCarthy and Noah Anzures sacked the Sundevils quarterback on consecutive plays, and Jackson Christopherson also had a sack.

“It made it difficult for Mount Carmel to get into a rhythm,” Johnson said.

The Christopherson twins also excelled on offense. Jackson Christopherson carried the ball 14 times for 82 yards and two touchdowns while Wilson Christopherson caught three passes for 75 yards.

Another senior, Chris Bausch, gained 200 yards and four touchdowns on 26 rushing attempts and also had a 10-yard pass reception and a 39-yard kickoff return. “That was a big performance,” Johnson said.

Seniors scored all 42 of Fallbrook’s points; Zach Dickey made all six of his conversion kick attempts.

Fallbrook’s quarterback, Evan Thomas, is a junior. He completed seven of 12 passes for 114 yards. “When we did decide to throw the ball we were efficient with it,” Johnson said.

The Warriors had 481 yards of total offense with 367 of those obtained from rushing plays. “We were able to move the ball really effectively,” Johnson said.

Four of Fallbrook’s starting offensive linemen are also seniors: left tackle Jameson Neese, center Sam Corona, right guard Gabe Mendoza, and right tackle James Jones. Left guard Camden Hoff is a sophomore.

“Really good to see a lot of people contribute,” Johnson said.

The Warriors were forced to punt on their first possession. The punt was blocked and recovered in the end zone. Bausch returned the kickoff from the Fallbrook 6 to the Fallbrook 45. The Warriors’ 55-yard touchdown drive took nine plays with Wilson Christopherson gaining the final four yards on a run. The possession included a 17-yard pass from Thomas to Jackson Christopherson. Dickey’s conversion kick tied the game.

Mount Carmel took a 14-7 lead later in the first quarter with a 27-yard touchdown pass on fourth down and the conversion kick. Fallbrook scored all 14 second-quarter points. After the kickoff, the Warriors had possession at their own 35. The first play of that possession was a 44-yard run by Bausch and the fifth play of that drive was an eight-yard touchdown run by Bausch.

Sherman ended the next Mount Carmel possession with an interception on the Fallbrook 16, but the Warriors fumbled shortly afterwards and the Sundevils had the ball on the Fallbrook 13. “They did not score on that one,” Johnson said.

Mount Carmel ran the ball on fourth down, but the ball carrier was tackled a yard short of the first down marker and the Warriors had possession on their own 6. Twelve plays later, the Warriors completed their 94-yard touchdown drive, and Dickey’s kick gave Fallbrook a 21‑14 lead. Bausch scored on a 12-yard run and also had two 11-yard runs and a 10-yard run. Thomas completed a 19-yard pass to Wilson Christopherson on third down with eight yards to go for a first down. “That kept the drive alive,” Johnson said.

In the final minute of the first half, Mount Carmel was able to reach the Fallbrook 15, but Sherman intercepted a pass in the end zone. Fallbrook received the second-half kickoff. “They attempted an onside kick to start the second half, but we recovered it,” Johnson said.

The Warriors had the ball on their own 42. The 58-yard touchdown drive was completed on the 11th play with Jackson Christopherson’s 12-yard run.

The Sundevils obtained a first down on their next possession before McCarthy and Anzures had their consecutive sacks. After the punt, the Warriors had the ball at their own 31. The first score of the fourth quarter took nine plays to cover those 69 yards to the end zone. Bausch scored on a six-yard run and Jackson Christopherson had a 23-yard run.

A 13-yard touchdown pass culminated Mount Carmel’s 69-yard drive which required seven plays. The Sundevils attempted another onside kick, and the Warriors recovered and took possession at their own 49. The 51-yard drive included a 38-yard pass from Thomas to Wilson Christopherson. The sixth play was Bausch’s one-yard touchdown run.

Aguilar intercepted a pass on the second play of Mount Carmel’s ensuing possession. The Warriors were able to run out the clock.

 

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