Falcons Rally Past El Camino, 21-18

Young Passes for 241 Yards And Two Scores
By: Mike Ray, Gold Country News Services
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SACRAMENTO – As far as season openers go, Colfax High football coach Tony Martello won’t have to look at the game film of Friday’s lid-lifter with El Camino to know that his squad has plenty of areas to grow in. But if there were a couple of things evident in Friday’s come from behind 21-18 win over the host Eagles, it was that the victory was spiced by a marked improvement in the Falcons’ passing game and a defense which came up with a slew of big plays when they needed them. “We have a long ways to go,” said Martello following the Colfax win which was in doubt right up to the final 50 seconds before quarterback Austin Young knelled out the game’s final three plays at midfield. “We turned the ball over three times and that’s enough to keep teams hanging around. We were fortunate to get the “W” tonight.” A year ago the Falcons struggled to move the ball in the air, passing for under 1,000 yards for the season. However, Friday night the usual potent Colfax passing game reappeared as Young, a 6-5 220-pound junior, hit on 13 of 21 passes for 241 yards and a pair of touchdowns in his varsity debut as a starter. “We did throw the ball well at times tonight,” said Martello. “Austin is coming along for us.” Another bright spot in the Colfax offense was the running of fullback Tom Baldoni. Baldoni, an all-Pioneer Valley League linebacker last season, carried the ball 18 times for 121 yards and scored the game winning touchdown on a one-yard plunge with 9:50 left in the game. He also had a 75-yard run for another touchdown wiped out by a penalty. Following Baldoni’s go-ahead touchdown, the Eagles drove to the Colfax 28-yard line before the Falcons, keyed by play from Alex Chaney, Jeremy Dawson, Danny Walker and Jake Karbowski stiffened and forced an Eagle punt to the end zone. Colfax then had to weather one more Eagle storm in the game’s last minute and a half when scrambling El Camino quarterback James Appell connected with Isaiah Buick for a 32-yard pick up and a first down at the Falcons 45 with a minute to play. However, after a spike, linebacker Roger Lillie sacked Appell for a 10-yard loss that preceded two ensuing El Camino incomplete passes. Colfax started the game’s scoring with an impressive 7-play 75-yard drive which was capped when Young connected with Josh Moreno on a 52-yard touchdown pass. The lead didn’t last long though as El Camino picked off a tipped Young pass midway through the first quarter and followed it with a 24-yard touchdown aerial from Appell to Demetrius Kuwabara to tie the contest at 7-7. After a 52-yard kickoff return by Karbowski was wasted when the Falcons fumbled the ball away in one play, Colfax’s defense stiffened once again and the Falcons scored when Baldoni hauled in a six-yard scoring pass from Young. The big play in Colfax’s second scoring drive was a 55-yard pass from Young to Shawn Rawlins which put the ball inside the Eagles’ 10-yard line. But undaunted the Eagles answered to start the second quarter with a 11-play 68-yard march which shifty running back Phil Washington capped with a three-yard run to make it 14-13. The Eagles then caught the Falcons napping on the conversion try and ran a swinging gate play for two points and a 15-14 lead. El Camino then took a 18-14 lead into halftime when Antonio Martinez banged through a 25-yard field goal with 4:06 to play in the first half. For Colfax, Moreno hauled in five passes for 127 yards while Chase Mosier had three receptions for 30 yards and Rawlins a pair of grabs for 64 more yards. EL Camino JV 35 Colfax 14 - Colfax stayed with the Eagles 14-14 at halftime but were doomed by three second half turnovers. Henry Freer (15x52) and Austin Perry (16x67) both scored touchdowns for the Falcons. Marcus Hoogendyk, Matt Stuck and freshman Jack Baldoni shined for the Falcons on defense. Colfax Frosh 25 El Camino 8 - Tanner Kane rushed 17 times for 102 yards and scored three touchdowns to help lift the Falcons to a win in their season opener. Colfax quarterback Michael Wilson also passed for 115 yards including a 10-yard scoring pass to Chris Harshman. Ryan Hawkins, Jake Mederios and Kyle Bryant led the Colfax defense.