The River Valley Falcons came to play on homecoming night, but so did the Roseville Tigers. After a back-and-forth slugfest by both teams – including eight lead changes – Roseville hung on late to take the victory, 32-31.
With less than a minute left, the Falcons found themselves down by just one point. But it was too little too late as quarterback Ian Harvey rolled out of the pocket and attempted a pass that was intercepted by Roseville’s Jackson Shedd.
Two kneel-downs later, the Tigers were celebrating and the Falcons were in disbelief.
“This team battled very hard tonight, I’m really proud of the way they played. That’s a tough team over there and it showed tonight. We came up just a little short, but we’ll get back to work next week,” co-head coach Brennan McFadden said.
Fresh out of the gate, the Falcons defense proved it had done its homework. Defensive end Abraham Anguiano recovered a fumble on just the second play of the game for the Roseville, setting up his offense with great field position.
The Roseville defense would answer back though, as the Tigers recovered a fumble when the Falcons tried punching it in on second and goal.
Roseville got on the board first when Cooper Thompson scored on a 23-yard reception. Roseville would miss the point after attempt however, to make it just a 6-0 lead with 4:07 left in the first quarter.
The Falcons offense knew it needed to find a spark. Wide out D.J. Whiteley did just that when he darted down the field for a 73-yard reception to set up running back Nathan Nava for a 3-yard touchdown. After a successful point-after, River Valley took a 7-6 lead with 2:29 left in the first period.
On the ensuing drive, the River Valley defense came up with a huge stop on fourth down, but after Whiteley fumbled on the next play, the Falcons defense had to trot back out on the field for another obstacle: Roseville with a first down in the red zone.
After being tested yet again, the Falcons forced Roseville to settle for a field goal as the Tigers regained the lead: 9-7 with 8:39 left in the first half.
With just under five minutes left in the first half, the River Valley offense would get to work. After multiple long gains on rushes to the outside, the Falcons were able to retake the lead when Edson Leon nailed a 40-yard field goal right down the middle.
Roseville would get the last laugh in the first half though, after tacking on another score when wide receiver No. 7 scored on a 31-yard reception to give the Tigers a 17-10 lead at halftime.
After the halftime homecoming festivities, the Falcons showcased just how quickly their offense can strike, when running back George Baker got loose in the flats and scored a 75-yard touchdown reception to tie the game up at 17 aside.
“Honestly I was just trying to make a long gain and then I found myself with a lot of space and I just ran as fast as I could to the end zone,” Baker said. “I knew we needed to get on the board first there in the second half so I’m glad we could to gain some momentum,” he added.
The Tigers would respond with a field goal, taking a 20-17 lead with 5:50 left in the third quarter. But the River Valley offense was ready for the test yet again as the Falcons marched down and got in the red zone before Baker punched it in for his second score of the game.
Roseville would answer back with a drive of their own, gaining long yards on multiple plays. After the Tigers finally crossed the goal line, River Valley’s Trevor Perrucci weathered the attack with a point-after block.
Down 26-24, Falcons quarterback Ian Harvey put together a very impressive drive that ended in the elusive passer scrambling for a score. The Falcons were now ahead 31-26 with just 3:38 left in regulation.
But Roseville benefited from a nice kickoff return and an immediate monster rush. Five plays later the Tigers took the lead when wide receiver Terrell Williams scored on an 11-yard touchdown reception with just 1:12 left in the contest.
It proved to be too little too late as the Falcons were unable to score on the game’s last drive, falling 32-31. River Valley (2-4) will host Inderkum (6-0) next week.