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Win over Placer puts title in view

Falcons shake up Hillmen, 41-28
By: Mike Ray, Colfax Record Sports Editor
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With two games left in the regular season, the Colfax Falcons football team finds itself treading in familiar waters. Thanks to a marvelous all-around team effort in the biggest game of the season, coach Tony Martello’s troops are once again banging on the door for another Pioneer Valley League grid championship. “The kids just played their hearts out, “ said Martello amid throngs of well-wishers after his Falcons rose to the occasion and stung Placer’s Hillmen, 41-28, last Friday in a battle of PVL unbeaten teams. “Win, lose or draw tonight our effort was superb,” he said. Playing before an overflow LeFebvre Stadium crowd estimated to be at 5,000 or more, the visiting Falcons raced out to a 27-7 lead by halftime and then showed moxie down the stretch to hold off a furious second-half rally by the Hillmen. The 41 points rung up by the Falcons were the most scored by a PVL team on Placer since they entered the league in 2006. “We played very well in the first half and I think it carried over the rest of the way,” Martello said. “We had some lapses in the second half but I thought we finished strong with the game on the line.” The Colfax victory puts the Falcons in an enviable position in the PVL race and, more importantly, it also leaves the Falcons in control of their own fate. Friday night when the Falcons host Lincoln’s Zebras in a 7:30 p.m. Senior Night game, Colfax will be shooting for a piece of the PVL title. In that instance, the Falcons – regardless of the outcome of their Nov. 4 game at Bear River – would also secure the PVL’s No. 1 bid to the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Div. IV playoffs. In addition, a win over the Zebras on Friday, would most likely boost the Falcons into a top one or two seed for the post season which is slated to begin on Nov. 11. “It sounds like a cliche but we’re just about our next game,” said the Colfax coach. “Right now we are squarely focused on Lincoln.” Perhaps the game’s biggest play of last week’s win came with less than four minutes to play and the Falcons backed up on their own eight-yard line. Clinging to a 33-28 lead and facing a third-down and eight-yards-to-go situation, the Falcons ran a perfectly executed screen pass that Hunter Perez hauled in from quarterback Austin Young. Perez turned the key pass into a 27-yard gain that gave the Falcons a crucial first down. “That was huge,” Martello said. “Placer had done a great job of defending the screen all night long but we were able to hit one when we needed it.” The play took the wind out of the Hillmen comeback sails and three plays later Sam Quinlan salted the contest away by talking a fly sweep 38-yards to the house for the game cinching touchdown. The game started out like it was going to be an offensive shootout. Colfax took the opening kickoff and took just six plays to cover 80 yards with Austin Perry going over from six yards out and a 7-0 lead. Placer answered back with a drive of its own that Brad Spangler capped by scoring from seven yards out to tie the count. However, the score didn’t stay tied long as on the first play following the ensuing kickoff, Colfax receiver David Mowbray took a hitch-pass from Young, sidestepped a would be Hillmen defender and was gone 80 yards up the sideline for a 14-7 Falcons lead. Colfax continued on the offensive as the Falcons scored on their next two possessions, both runs by Perez of five and 10 yards to take a stunning 27-7 advantage with them into the locker room at halftime. “We knew they were going to come back at us hard in the second half,” Martello said. “We were expecting the kitchen sink to be thrown at us.” Placer took the second half kickoff and scored but the Hillmen took nearly eight minutes to do it, Joe Mangino’s run trimming the lead to 27-14. As it later turned out, the Falcons’ next drive was their most important. Sparked by a beautiful over the shoulder catch by Austin Perry for a key 15-yard pickup on third down, the Falcons upped the count to 33-14 when Young found converted tackle Dustin Downey in the back of the end zone from seven yards away. Placer then gave Colfax followers some anxious moments with two following touchdowns on a short run by Spangler and a 24-yard scoring pass from Peter Denham to Austin Hess but the Falcons were able to recover an onside kick after the first score and a deep squib after the second. Following Quinlan’s late touchdown, Zach Coffman sealed the win for the Falcons with an interception of a Denham pass. As there usually is in big wins, the Falcons had plenty of standouts. Perez, despite being keyed on by Placer’s defense, picked up 218 hard earned yards on 31 carries. Several times the stocky Colfax senior turned what looked like would be two and three-yard runs into gains of seven and eight yards. The game was Perez’ fifth over 200 yards rushing this season and without a whole lot of fanfare he passed, in only eight games, the school single season rushing mark of 1,313 yards set by Pat Rawlins in 2009. Also checking in with a solid game was quarterback Austin Young, who peppered Placer’s secondary for a 15 of 22 night for 334 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Perry had a career receiving night with five grabs for 135 yards while Mowbray was right behind with four catches for 114. Quinlan had two receptions for 50 yards while Perez had his big 27-yard screen play and Downey the seven-yard scoring catch. Colfax’s offensive line of Brett Fowler at center, Cory Rodgers and Niall Gow at guards. and Downey and Adam Etcheverry at tackles also played a strong game opening holes for the running production and protecting Young who was sacked just once. The defense also came through with steady efforts throughout the game as the Falcons held the high-scoring Hillmen to their second lowest total of the season. Henry Freer and Zach Coffman both had pass interceptions while Roger Lillie, Jeremy Dawson, Chancey Trentman, Benton Brown, Cameron Zerboff, Clay Southerland and Matt Anglade all contributed big stops. ---------------------------------------------- Colfax 41, Placer 28 Colfax 14 13 6 8 – 41 Placer 7 0 7 14 – 28 Col – Perry 7 run (Rooker kick) Pla – Spangler 8 run (Arellano kick) Col – Mowbray 80 pass from Young (Rooker kick) Col – Perez 5 run (kick failed) Col – Perez 10 run (Rooker kick) Pla – Mangino 11 run (Arellano kick) Col – Downey 7 pass from Young (kick failed) Pla – Spangler 2 run (Arellano kick) Pla – Hess 24 pass from Denham (Arellano kick) Col – Quinlan 38 run (Mowbray run) ------------------------------------------------