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Falcons fly by Hillmen in OT

By: Mike Ray, Colfax Record Sports Editor
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Colfax at Lincoln Friday night By Mike Ray Colfax Record sports editor For the Colfax Falcons’ football team last Friday night, the whole proved to be greater than the sum of all its parts. And because of it - a heroic effort which produced a 24-21 double overtime win over Placer’s Hillmen – the complexion of the Pioneer Valley League football chase virtually overnight changed dramatically. With one swift split-the-uprights boot off the right foot of German exchange student Matci Geissler, the Falcons used his game deciding 27-yard field goal in the night’s second overtime session to take down the No. 14 Sacramento-area ranked Hillmen and in the process send the home side of Marson Stadium into a frenzy. Receiving a scintillating team effort on both sides of the ball, the Falcons rode big plays from its offense and defense to stay close to the highly-touted visitors for three quarters before using Geissler’s winning kick to hand the Hillmen their first loss of the PVL season. “I’ve been fortunate to be involved in a lot big moments here at Colfax but this one ranks right up there at the top,” said emotionally drained Colfax coach Tony Martello following the game. “The kids sold out and played with a lot of determination. It was a great win for our program.” And with the victory, Martello and the Falcons put themselves into position to make a run at the school’s first PVL title since 2007, something that just a mere eight weeks ago, because of a tumultuous off-season, seemed perhaps as unfathomable, well, as the Giants playing in the World Series. “We’ve got a long way to go,” said the Colfax coach about upcoming regular season ending games Friday at Lincoln and Nov. 5 at home versus Bear River. “We have two tough games and can’t relax.” With the win, the Falcons improved to 3-0 in PVL games and 6-2 overall. And although in a precarious position atop the PVL, the Falcons hold a one-game advantage over both Placer (2-1, 6-2) and Bear River (2-1, 6-2). Lincoln, the defending PVL champion is at 1-2 and 5-3 after losing 39-22 at Bear River on Friday. Foothill (1-2, 4-4) and Center (0-3, 1-7) follow in the standings. While the Falcons control their own destiny in regards to the PVL race, two regular season ending wins would also weigh heavily down the road in playoff seedings. “We have a whole lot to play for,” said Martello. “We’re not overlooking anyone. Friday we’re going to see a fired-up Lincoln team. I think there’s five teams in this league that are capable on any Friday night.” Last Friday the Falcons proved they were capable. Written off by many as perhaps an afterthought in the PVL race, the Falcons got Placer’s attention early on when Tom Baldoni’s 14-yard run first quarter touchdown run started the game’s scoring. Geissler’s extra point kick making it 7-0, Colfax. Colfax missed a chance to go ahead by two touchdowns when they fumbled later in the opening quarter at the Hillmen two-yard line. Given new life, Placer then put together their lone score of regulation when Josh Turney went over from a yard out early in the second quarter that left the score knotted at halftime, 7-7. Placer then used a heads up play from Darren Centi on a Colfax punt to give the Hillmen a 14-7 lead. While Colfax players were watching Baldoni’s punt bounce around at the 48-yard line of Placer, when no one downed it, Centi raced in, scooped up the ball and returned it 52 yards to give the Hillmen the lead. But Colfax hung around long enough to use Jake Karbowski’s interception of a Colin Burnett pass near midfield that would lead to the game tying drive with seven minutes to play. The tying score came on a huge 31-yard scoring pass from Austin Young to Josh Moreno, on a fourth down and 13 yards to go situation. In the first overtime, Placer scored first with Turney going over from two yards out but the Falcons answered on their first play with Young hitting Chase Mosier wide open in the back of the end zone to make the score 21-21. Placer was then stopped on its next possession and after a penalty was forced to kick a field goal. However, from 33 yards out, Centi’s kick was wide left. That set the stage for Geissler who came in on first down and ended the thriller was his 27-yard kick. Colfax out-gained the Hillmen 267-222. The total yardage was Placer’s lowest of the season in eight games. Defensive standouts for the Falcons included Moreno, Austin Fitzhugh, Peter Freer, Roger Lillie, Jeremy Dawson and Francis Sanford.