Falcons battle, but come up short against Inderkum
SACRAMENTO — The scoreboard at David Tooker Field may have read 21-0, but Friday night's Tri-County Conference football clash between Inderkum High and visiting River Valley was much closer that that.
Locked in a defensive battle for the majority of the game, the Falcons were prepared to make history on Friday night and gave the five-time defending TCC champion Tigers all they could handle for three full quarters.
Unfortunately for the Falcon faithful, a spirited effort by their defense wasn't enough as Inderkum scored a pair of touchdowns in the final period to hand River Valley its first conference loss of the season.
Four turnovers and a touchdown nullified by a costly penalty doomed RV in this one, snapping the Falcons' three-game winning streak and dropping them to 5-3 overall and 2-1 in the TCC.
"The bottom line is we know our kids can play with anybody in this league," River Valley coach Brandon Asher said. "When you play a team like this, you've got to play mistake-free football and we didn't do that."
The Falcons' defense certainly did its part, though.
With River Valley generating just 47 yards of total offense in the first half, the Falcons were forced to rely on their defensive unit and they came up huge.
Xavier Quintana recovered a fumble on the Tigers' first drive of the game and RV forced two punts and got the ball back on downs on Inderkum's next three possessions.
The Falcons then stuffed the Tigers three times at the 1-yard line for a great goal-line stand before Inderkum finally broke onto the scoreboard on a 16-yard touchdown run by Josh Montes with 23 seconds remaining in the half, giving the hosts a 7-0 lead at the break.
Inderkum (6-2, 2-1) marched the ball down the field on its first possession of the third quarter, but once again the Falcons' defense came up big by forcing a fumble right at the goal line.
T.J. Dove scooped it up in the end zone, and instead of downing the ball for a touchback, he decided to make the most of it. That move paid off when Dove broke a pair of tackles and raced down the Falcons' sideline for an electric 105-yard return for a touchdown.
The score wouldn't stand, however, as a personal foul penalty well behind the play took away a touchdown that most likely would have tied things up.
The Falcons didn't generate enough offense after that, and with their defense on the field for all but 7 minutes in the second half, Inderkum simply wore them down late.
Tigers' quarterback C.J. Spencer found a wide-open Khalil Hudson for a 20-yard touchdown pass on the first play of the fourth quarter and followed that up with an 11-yard TD strike to Larry Hardy with 3:32 remaining to give Inderkum the win.
"It seemed like our defense was on the field the whole game and you can't give a team like this extra opportunities," Asher said. "I looked at it like they were a team we could compete with and we just didn't get it done tonight."
Now the Falcons will regroup heading into next week's homecoming game against Woodland (1-7, 1-2). The Wolves lost to Yuba City 35-20 on Friday night.
"I'm proud of our boys. They can walk of their field with their heads held high," Asher added. "Now we've got to tweak some things and get ready for Woodland."