Fall River came into this game 4-2, 3-1 in the Cascade Valley League, coming off of a lopsided loss to Etna, but despite this, the Bulldogs were part of a five-team tie at the top of the league, and could still win the league and earn a top seed into playoffs if they could get over their loss and go on the road and defeat another of those five teams, Portola.
Right away, the Bulldogs showed that this week would not be a repeat and finished with a 28-18 win.
They took the opening kickoff, and within three minutes, scored on a 7-yard pass from Ryan Osborne to Kenny Westlund. The conversion failed, and three minutes into the game, Fall River led 6-0. The Bulldogs forced a punt and Westlund scored moments later on a 20-yard run. After he added a two-point conversion, the Bulldogs led 14-0.
Fall River forced a second punt, and at the end of the first quarter, they led 14-0 and were moving the ball towards a third score.
They drove the ball through the first four minutes of the second quarter, then, as they got to the Tigers’ 25, their drive stalled and they turned it over on downs. Portola drove to midfield, then scored on a 50-yard pass. After the PAT, the Bulldogs led 14-7.
Fall River quickly drove into the red zone on their next drive, but fumbled at the 10. A few plays later, Portola threw an interception at their own 40, but Fall River could not move the ball and turned it over on downs, and the half ended with Fall River leading 14-7.
Starting the third quarter, Portola drove the length of the field, threatening to tie it up. But after a holding call, they got pushed back, and were forced to settle for a field goal, cutting the lead to 14-10.
Fall River went back to work, scoring two touchdowns in a two-minute span, the first on a 15-yard Westlund TD, followed by a 2 point conversion run in by Ryan Osborne, and the second on a 50 yard Westlund rushing touchdown.
As the third quarter ended, Fall River recovered a fumble in Portola territory, but was unable to move the ball much and turned it over on downs just outside the red zone. Portola drove 75 yards in four minutes to cut the lead to 28-18. Fall River then held the ball for almost seven minutes driving into the red zone again, but turning it over at the 10.
The Bulldogs gave the ball back with less than a minute remaining, and kept Portola from scoring, and 28-18 was the final margin.
Fall River had two trips into the red zone that came up empty and two more inside the 30, if the Bulldogs had been finishing off drives, this could have been lopsided. But they got the win, and reestablished themselves atop the league.
With the win, and a win by Biggs over Etna and Modoc by forfeit over Quincy, the Bulldogs, Braves, and Wolverines sit in a three-way tie for first, at 4-1 in league, with Portola, Etna, and Los Molinos a game back with Fall River travels to Modoc next week, a rematch of the Intermountain Fair Bowl that Fall River won at home 20-6 as a nonleague game.
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