Story by Eli Ruiz
FALLSBURG Looks like the Comets of Fallsburg will have to wait at least another week for that all elusive first football victory.
Friday evening saw Fallsburg open its third ever varsity football season on the wrong end of a lopsided 32-6 score at Morningside Park. The loss to the Onteora Indians was Fallsburg’s 19th straight out of 19 total games played. Still, it wasn’t all bad for the host Comets as they came out after halftime and shut the Onteora offense down.
Onteora opened the scoring early. Bernie Smith, after having an 87-yard touchdown run called back on flag for holding, later in the quarter romped 57 yards down the sideline to score. The extra point attempt failed.
Shakree Gibson would return the ensuing kickoff just past midfield into Onteora territory. Gibson would quickly break a run further into enemy territory to the 36, but after several short plays Fallsburg would again turn the ball over on downs, a recurring theme for the Comets, who were also plagued by bad snaps and penalties throughout the non-league contest.
The Indians would score several more times before the half. A 53-yard run by Theo Beecroft early in the second quarter was followed by a second rushing touchdown by Bernie Smith this time a 21 yarder would make the score 20-0 after a successful two-point conversion.
On Fallsburg’s very next possession, after quarterback Joshua Carter was sacked at his own 5, Onteora would recover a fumble on the ensuing play at the Fallsburg 3. On first down, Dustin Mackenzie smashed into the end-zone to give the Indians a commanding 26-0 lead with 3:10 remaining in the half.
Smith would strike again before halftime, as he picked off Carter’s deep pass attempt and return it 56 yards for his third touchdown of the half, giving Onteora a 32-0 halftime lead.
In the second half, the Comets would eventually settle down, even orchestrating a 16-play, 92-yard drive that culminated with a 4-yard dive up the middle by fullback Sebastain Sanchez.
Bernie Smith paced all runners with 108 rushing yards and 164 total yards to help Onteora match its win total for all of last season.
Fallsburg’s Shakree Gibson carried the ball 14 times for 73 yards. Fullback Sebastain Sanchez had 7 carries for 33 yards and Fallsburg’s lone touchdown.
Onteora Coach Justin Kight, said “Our special teams really came up big today, we kept them [Fallsburg] pinned behind the 20 almost all day.… I think they played really well.”
Fallsburg Coach Adam Ramirez said, “We need to start next week how we played in the second half today. What we did was switch from our regular 4-4 defense to a 5-3 in the second half and that made all the difference.
He added, “We were over-pursuing in the first half… we had three blown coverages there and they all went for touchdowns. We made some big mistakes [and] really need to improve our fundamentals and work on our line and pass coverage. But I’m really proud of my guys for never giving up. They definitely didn’t give up out there today.”
Onteora next plays James I.O’Neill, while the Comets visit Eldred.