Lowry’s Sam Roth hauls in a catch during Saturday’s game in Fallon.
Lowry’s Sam Roth hauls in a catch during Saturday’s game in Fallon.
Lowry’s first drive of Saturday’s 3A East football game quickly refocused Fallon on pass defense, part of its bread-and-butter this season.

Case in point: The Buckaroos opened the game by mounting a 10-play drive that covered 65 yards, but on the 11th play, Fallon’s Francisco Tapia picked off a pass in the end zone. Buoyed by the defensive play, the Wave then scored a pair of first-quarter touchdowns and rolled for a 49-13 win at the Edward Arciniega Athletic Complex.

After Lowry (2-3) took the opening kickoff, Buckaroos quarterback Caden Ricci began to pick apart Fallon’s pass defense. The Lowry senior completed his first four passes for 48 yards. Lowry eventually rolled to the Fallon 15 on Ricci’s 19-yard pass to Braden Hammargren before Tapia’s interception. 

Ricci, though, had more success in the passing game against the Greenwave than any other quarterback in the league. 

He completed 21 of 38 passes for 238 yards. Lowry’s rushing game, though, netted 11 yards.

Penalties then moved Fallon back 10 yards on its first possession before the Greenwave flexed their muscles. Levi Andrews took the handoff and aimed toward the near side of the field in and raced down the field for a 90-yard touchdown with 6:22 left in the quarter. Sam Robertson’s kick for the extra point veered to his right. Robertson, though, booted four extra points in the game to give him 17 in four games.

Andrews gained 239 yards on 14 carries against Lowry. In four games during the abbreviated COVID-19 season, the Greenwave senior has ripped opposing defense for 835 yards.

Fallon struck quickly on Lowry’s next series of downs. The Buckaroos’ Giovani Sapien brought the kickoff to the Lowry 29.

On first down, Ricci rushed for 4 yards, and he threw an incomplete pass on second down. On third down, Ricci threw his second interception of the game that was snagged by Colby Malkovich and run back 26 yards to the Fallon 42.

The Wave struck again near the end of the first quarter. Quarterback Avery Strasdin hooked up with Kenji Armbruster for 26 yards with a minute remaining, and Strasdin threw to Matt Davis for the 2-point conversion to give the Wave a two-touchdown lead, 14-0. Fallon added a pair of touchdowns in the second quarter and three more in the third.

Strasdin hit Armbruster with a swing pass in front of the Lowry bench, and the Fallon senior outraced the Buckaroos’ secondary for a 71-yard touchdown at the 8:46 mark, and Robertson’s kick put the Wave on top 21-0.

Lowry responded on its next drive. In six plays, the Buckaroos covered 66 yards capped by a Ricci to Sapien pass for 53 yards. Sapien caught the ball on the 20-yard line, and ran toward the end zone. Hammargren’s kick sliced the Fallon lead to 21-7.

Lowry’s defense rose up in the third quarter to stop Fallon on the Greenwave 1-yard line. Fallon marched down the field, only to stall.

Lowry fizzled on its next six-play drive. On a fourth and 24 from the Lowry 26, Hammargren pulled the ball to midfield, and Tyler Austin watched the ball bounce in front of the Fallon sideline and took the ball on the bounce back 50 yards for the final score of the first half.

Both teams entered into a horse race in the third quarter as Fallon scored three more times, and Lowry added its second touchdown.

On their first drive, the Greenwave put together a five-play 65-yard drive capped by Strasdin’s 23-yard pass to Armbruster. Strasdin, who finished 10-of-14 for 163 yards, concentrated eight of his passes to Armbruster, who gained 150 yards.

Lowry, although trailing 35-7, responded. 

After bringing the kickoff to the Fallon 40, Ricci completed a 30-yard pass on a second down to Sapien. Hammargren’s kick is no good, and Churchill County leads 35-13. 

Within a minute after the kickoff, Fallon moved down the field in six plays backed by a balanced offense. Andrews gained 27 yards and Strasdin completed two passes, a 3-yard pass to Matt Davis and a 10-yard  strike to Austin.

On the next play, a first-and 10 from the 23, Armbruster reached for Strasdin’s pass inside the goal line.

On Lowry’s next possession, the Buckaroos punted on the sixth play, which Fallon field on its 40-yard line. 

On first down, Andrews bounded off the right side and took off 60 yards for Fallon’s final touchdown with 3:21 left in the quarter. Joe Mercado kicked the extra point to give Fallon a 36-point lead. 

Both coaches substituted liberally in the fourth quarter.

Lowry had a drive beginning on its 30-yard line, but the 13-play drive fizzled on the Fallon 13.

The Wave ended the game with Malkovich running six conservative plays to run out the clock.