The Fall River Bulldogs spread the wealth Saturday in their 45-6 D-V section title win over Chester. Five Bulldogs scored in the season-ending victory. (Photo by Mike Daly / Shasta County Sports)
McARTHUR – The first half of the Fall River-Chester Northern Section Division V football championship on Saturday looked a bit like a taping of the “Oprah Winfrey Show.”
You get a touchdown. And you get a touchdown. And you get a touchdown. Oh, and you get two touchdowns and you can have one too.
The Fall River Bulldogs scored seven first-half touchdowns en route to a 45-6 D-V title in the Redding Rancheria Game of the Week, avenging a section-title game loss last year to the same Volcanoes. But it wasn’t necessarily that the 12-0 Bulldogs scored seven times in the first half and shutout Chester until less than a minute left in the running-clock game and the benches had been cleared.
It was how they scored – like Chicago voting, early and often.
Five Bulldogs scored on the chilly night – seniors Bailey Small, Cody Jorgensen, Jacob Carmenita, and Gavin Dobson and Jeffrey Kask twice – as the Fall River scoreboard looked like an old-time pinball machine racking up the total.
“That’s what makes them tough,” Chester coach Terry Hernandez said of the cadre of weapons Fall River sports. “They’re a good power team. They can come out with two tight ends and pounded it down your throat. And then you get them in a third-and-long situation and they spread you out and that quarterback is legit. He doesn’t just stare down a receiver. He finds the open guy … and if there’s no one open, he tucks it and runs and he’s really, really fast. They’re just so tough.”
Fall River coach Todd Sloat used all the weapons in his arsenal on Saturday as the Bulldogs ran the gamut from the dog days of summer through the autumnal changing of the seasons to the brisk season finale.
Early in the year it appeared as though Sloat’s crew was the D-V team to beat and they lived up to that expectation, handled the hype and relished the bull’s-eye on their backs.
Small, the 5-foot-8 workhorse back, scored the first touchdown on a 12-yard scamper off the option from Dobson, the Bulldogs’ field general. And though Small wouldn’t add to his 21 touchdowns on the season after his first-quarter score, his relentless pounding caused one Chester defender to try to rally his teammates with the cry of “Can’t we tackle this guy, he doesn’t even weigh 100 pounds?”
They couldn’t and for the record, Small comes in listed as a svelte 130 pounds.
The Bulldogs next score was set up by junior Tim Westlund’s interception on the first play of the Volcanoes’ ensuing possession. One play later, the Bulldogs scored again, this time on an 8-yard Kask run. Less than 30 seconds later Dobson found the end zone after stripping the ball near midfield and returning it 47-yards to the house, a touchdown helped by the senior’s athleticism, but also a beautiful crackback block by Sergio Jiminez along the sideline.
That’s three touchdowns in 68 seconds. And about the only thing that didn’t go right for Fall River were the 2-point fails as the Bulldogs led 18-0 in the first quarter.
“All those guys can make plays,” Sloat said. “We just try to find a way to balance out the field with personnel groups so that everyone feels involved and stays involved.”
Kask was the next in a long line of Bulldogs to “make plays” converting a fourth and short at the end of the first quarter. Two plays later Dobson found Jorgensen on a 9-yard scoring pass – yes, the PAT was missed – and the Bulldogs were up 24-0 early in the second quarter.
“We’re able to get in different formations and try to find good matchups,” Sloat said. “Our playbook is silly. There’s so many dang plays in there you just don’t know which one to pick from sometimes.”
After a Chester punt snafu gave the Bulldogs the ball deep in Volcanoes territory, Carmenita got in on the touchdown parade scoring from 11 yards out and this time the Bulldogs successfully converted the PAT to go up 31-0. A Dobson pick-6 ran the score to 38-0.
Westlund’s second INT of the game set up Kask’s second score four plays later – a 17-yard run – and Fall River led 45-0 with 90 seconds left in the half and the only thing left to wait on was the second-half clock to spin and Northern Section Commissioner Liz Kyle to officially hand over the section-title plaque to Sloat and his Bulldogs.
“It was nice to see them get the section title win after losing a couple of times,” Sloat said. “We’ve been on the other side of this, so I’m definitely going to enjoy this one.”