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Fall River Bulldogs

Fall River holds on 38-35 to hand Biggs its first loss

Fall River's Timmy Westlund, pictured in the 2018 Northern Section Division V championship game, scored three touchdowns in the win over Biggs. (Mike Daly/Shasta County Sports)
35 - 38
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Biggs35Overall Loss, Loss
Fall River38Overall Win, Win

After two weeks off, the Fall River football team might have been expected to show some rust, but little rust was evident as the Bulldogs played their most complete offensive game of the season, defeating the Biggs Wolverines 38-35.

Biggs came into the game with a 5-0 record and expecting this to be their year to take down Fall River. But the Bulldogs were fired up early, scoring twice in the first, and taking advantage of Biggs fumbles in the second to start the game off with a 16-0 first quarter and a 30-14 halftime lead. Ryan Osborne’s passing was the most on target it has been this season, and the defense made great use of Biggs miscues.

The Bulldogs got the ball first, and drove the length of the field, taking five minutes of clock to take an 8-0 lead. Then, on Biggs’s second offensive play, Ryan Osborne forced a fumble and the Bulldogs got the ball at the Wolverine 18 yard line. Three plays later, Osborne completed a touchdown pass to Timmy Westlund and the score was 16-0 with less than 6 minutes remaining in the game.

Biggs responded, driving for nearly four minutes from their own end to the Fall River 25. Then Xavier Rodriguez recovered a second Biggs fumble, thwarting the drive just before it entered the red zone. Fall River was forced to punt, and the Wolverines got the ball back at about midfield with 2 minutes remaining in the first quarter. In the early second, Biggs punched it in, and the game was 16-8.

Fall River (3-1) responded with a methodical drive capped off by a Timmy Westlund 5-yard touchdown, and the Bulldogs were back up by two scores at 24-8. Biggs got the ball back near midfield and used up three minutes of clock to respond with a touchdown of their own, and after the 2-point conversion failed, it was 24-14 Fall River inside of 3 minutes to go in the half. The Bulldogs responded again, and drove 60 yards in 2 and a half minutes, capped by another touchdown run by Timmy Westlund, and after Fall River’s conversion failed, the halftime score was 30-14. Fall River played an excellent first half, the best offense seen all season, but Biggs was only partially stopped.

In the third, Biggs came out fired up. Biggs took the opening kickoff and needed six minutes to drive the field and score, cutting the lead to 30-22. Fall River had to punt, and Biggs got the ball near midfield looking to tie it up.  But Fall River’s defense held, and near the end of the 3rd, the Bulldogs were again on the move.

Fall River scored their final touchdown a minute into the 4th quarter and after the conversion, led 38-22. Biggs scored on a quick 2 and a half minute drive, but missed the conversion and were within 10 at 38-28 with 9 minutes left. The Wolverines then recovered a perfectly executed onside kick and  had the ball in Fall River territory. Once again, Fall River’s defense, that had given up a lot of yards, had its backs against the wall, and once again, when it really counted, Fall River’s defense stepped up.

They forced the Wolverines to turn it over on downs, and the Bulldogs went conservative to grind out the clock. But on a first down quarterback keeper, Ryan Osborne fumbled at the end of an 8 yard run up the middle, and Biggs got the ball. Defense had to show up again, and though the Wolverines did, in fact, score, it took them 4 and a half minutes to go 40 yards, and the score after a PAT was 38-35. Fall River’s offense got two first downs, used up over 3 minutes of clock, and when they finally had to punt to Biggs, the Wolverines had less than a minute, and Fall Rivers defense held to end the game.

Osborne was 9-of-13 passing for 99 yards. Timmy Westlund caught four of them for just 17 yards, but one was a touchdown, and others were crucial yards when the team needed them. Kenny Westlund had 2 receptions for 41 yards and Royce Knoch 4 for 34 yards, and Daniel Heniger caught one for 7 yards. Timmy Westlund also had 20 carries for 102 yards and 3 rushing touchdowns.  Osborne had 11 rushes for 19 yards, many of them scrambles when protection broke down, and did rush for a touchdown.

Defensively, Knoch had 16 tackles, Heniger 10, and 12 other players contributed tackles. Rodriguez and Osborne each recovered a fumble, both at crucial times. The Bulldogs (2-0 Cascade Valley League, 3-1) will next host Etna (3-1 CVL, 5-1) for homecoming, while Biggs (3-1 CVL, 5-1) will host Portola (3-1 CVL, 5-1).

Wil Keepers is a teacher, coach, and writer, who now teaches Science and coaches Track and Cross-Country at Fall River High School. He has 18 years of experience as a teacher, 12 years experience as a cross-country coach, nine years experience as a track coach, and six years coaching middle school basketball. He began writing four years ago and in August 2018 began writing for Shasta County Sports. He has been married for 21 years, and has three daughters

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