PREP FOOTBALL: Mountaineers headed to quarterfinals

Falls City’s football team defeated Echo 58-20 on Friday night.

Falls City’s football team defeated Echo 58-20 on Friday night.

FALLS CITY — The Mountaineers aren’t done climbing yet.

Sixth-seeded Falls City football team defeated No. 11 Echo 58-20 on Friday in the first round of the 1A state playoffs to advance to the quarterfinals against No. 3 Camas Valley Saturday at 1 p.m. at Roseburg High School.

“These eight guys have been playing together for six games now and are starting to gel pretty well,” coach Laric Cook said. “The offensive line has been doing a great job for us, and our backs have hit the hole pretty hard and fast. Then, we run play action because all you’re thinking is we’re running. The kids understand what we want, and they are playing at a high level.”

A 13-yard run by Jeremy Labrado gave the Mountaineers an early 8-0 lead. Echo answered with an 84-yard touchdown pass to pull within 8-6 before Falls City broke the game open.

The Mountaineers added 36 points before halftime to take a 42-12 lead into the break and extended their lead to 58-12 before Echo scored its final touchdown with one minute left in the game.

Labrado finished with 16 carries for 161 yards and three touchdowns on offense, and five solo tackles and an interception on defense.

Jesse Sickles threw for 117 yards and two touchdowns, and ran for 38 yards and three touchdowns.

Noah Sickles added 18 carries for 155 yards. Austin Burgess had four catches for 80 yards and two touchdowns on offense, and two solo tackles, three assisted tackles and a sack on defense.

Falls City’s attention now turns to Camas Valley.

“This is the best team we’ve played this year since we played Dufur,” Cook said. “We’re not going to be able to make mistakes. … They throw all kinds of formations at you. There’s a lot of smoke and mirrors. They’ve got some speed and are a 50/50 team. They’ll run it 50 percent of the time and throw it 50 percent of the time. Defensively, they play good, sound gap defense and tackle well.”

Saturday will be uncharted territory for the Mountaineers. This is the first time Falls City has advanced to the quarterfinals in 67 years.

“It’s an exciting time for the kids,” Cook said. “They are doing a great job taking it for what it is. They’re not blowing it up. A lot of them haven’t had this kind of success, but we’ve just to go stay the course, believe in what we tell them, execute and let the chips fall where they may.”

Saturday’s matchup will be a challenge, but Cook said the Mountaineers are ready to leave it all on the line.

“A lot of times the teams are pretty evenly matched, and it comes down to who makes the fewest mistakes,” Cook said. “This group of kids seems to rise to the occasion. … I’m prouder than heck of the kids. They’ve embraced this and are continuing to make believers out of people.”


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