By Brian PARK
With a chance to steal a piece of the league title, the Falcons fell short to the Burroughs Indians losing 14-12. There was no lack of effort on the Falcons part, but solid rushing by Burroughs running back Dalton Williams proved to be their demise by racking up 192 yards and two scores.
The Falcons started out with the ball but early game penalties kept them out of a rhythm, forcing a punt. Even after the Falcon defense stepped up to get the ball back, the offense could not move the ball giving the Indians the opportunity to feast on a tired defense.
The Indians started in good field position near midfield and dominated the Falcon rush defense, exposing the weakness evident during the Pasadena game to score the first touchdown of the game.
The Falcons offense was held at bay by the guarded Indians’ defense forcing a punt on the third consecutive Falcon possession. The Falcon defense could not stop the Indians from moving the ball, but came up with a huge play. The Falcons forced a fumble at the Indian 44 yard line, putting them in good field position.
Quarterback Kyle Cota started the drive out strong with a run of 21 yards, leaving only 33 yards to go. Cota then threw an incompletion, but rebounded by throwing a perfect rainbow pass to double coverage into the hands of Mike Bako for the touchdown tying the game at seven points apiece.
Dai Dai McFadden showed up big of defense, grabbing an interception on the ensuing Burroughs drive, but the offense failed to convert to points and punted to the Indians 15 yard line.
The Burroughs’ Williams continued to wreak havoc to the Falcon defense, exploding down the middle for an 80 yard touchdown run. The Falcons dodged a bullet when the play was revoked on a holding penalty against Burroughs.
The Indians slowly made their way downfield, not making any big plays, setting up a field goal attempt right before the half. The Falcons showed heart and ran over the Indian offensive line, blocking the field goal and gaining momentum.
The Falcon defense carried the momentum into the beginning of the second half, not letting the Indians gain ground and forcing punts on two consecutive possessions. The Falcon offense however had their own struggles moving the ball. On their second drive of the half, the Falcons managed a field goal to gain a three point lead early in the fourth quarter.
The Indians made their best of the possession after the Falcon score, creating big gain after big gain scoring a touchdown to bring the score to 14-10.
After the Indians touchdown, the Falcon offense had no trouble chomping up yards. CV got all the way to the four yard line before the game losing effort began. Cota ran for two of the four yards on first down, but in vain as Harry Pessy lost three on the next play. Pessy tried to redeem himself, running for three and a half yards, leaving a half yard to go on fourth down. The Falcons tried to sneak Cota into the end zone, but the Indians’ prevailed, stopping Cota before he reached his desired destination.
The Indians ran the clock as much as possible in three plays before intentionally taking a safety to give the ball back to the Falcons. Pessy brought the kickoff to the 47 yard line, leaving too many yards in the too little time left. An incompletion, a sack, and a slip on the dirt field capped the heartbreaker at Burroughs, leaving the final score at 14-12.
The effort was not lacking as the Falcons fell short but a lack of an effective run defense killed the team in the league champion deciding contest.
“I don’t know what we have to do [to fix it],” said Falcon Coach Tony Zarrillo when asked about the inefficient rush defense. “We’re giving up too many rushing yards.”