Photo by Lukas Eggen
Noah Sickles catches a touchdown pass against Dufur on Saturday.
As of Wednesday, November 22, 2017
HILLSBORO — Falls City’s football team’s ride in the state playoffs came to an end on Saturday.
The sixth-seeded Mountaineers lost to No. 2 Dufur 58-28 in the 1A state semifinals.
“It’s farther than Falls City’s ever been,” senior Noah Sickles said. “It was pretty big for the team and for the community.”
Falls City took an early 8-0 lead after a 24-yard touchdown pass from Jesse Sickles to Noah Sickles.
Dufur scored 18 unanswered points before the Mountaineers pulled to within four after Jesse Sickles hit Austin Burgess for a touchdown. The Rangers answered to go up 26-14 with 2:14 left in the first half. Falls City drove down the field and scored on an 11-yard touchdown pass from Jeremy Labrado to Burgess with 10 seconds left in the half.
Dufur returned the ensuing kickoff for a touchdown go take a 32-22 lead into the half.
“I didn’t want to kick it deep and give them a chance to run it back,” coach Laric Cook said. “We were supposed to squib it hard around the 30-yard line and have it go out. We didn’t execute that. That kind of kicked us in the rear end there.”
The Mountaineers had a chance to score early in the second half to close the gap, but a dropped pass on fourth down stalled the drive.
“That’s a touchdown if he catches it,” Cook said. “That broke our back a little bit.”
The Rangers added three more touchdowns to stretch their lead to 52-22 before the Mountaineers scored their final touchdown of the game in the fourth quarter.
“I’m prouder than heck of the guys,” Cook said. “They never quit and kept playing hard. We just didn’t execute as well as Dufur.”
Falls City finished the season with a 9-2 record. Both of the team's losses came to Dufur.
“We're glad to have had this opportunity and hopefully we can turn this into something that happens every year,” Cook said.
Sickles believes the groundwork has already been laid for sustained success.
“I think the younger guys saw that anything is possible, no matter what,” Sickles said.