Warriors get respite with bye week before season finale

Fallbrook High's Darius Watson (No. 66) wraps up Valley Center running back Mateo Sinohi. Shane Gibson photos
Fallbrook High’s Darius Watson (No. 66) wraps up Valley Center running back Mateo Sinohi. Shane Gibson photos

Tom Ferrall
Staff Writer

The Fallbrook High football team, which has been playing through pain all season, has a bye this Friday (Nov. 27). The Warriors will conclude their 2017 campaign with a home game Nov. 3 against Rancho Buena Vista.

“It’s definitely needed with all the injuries,” said coach Darius Pickett of the bye. “It’s a shame it’s this late in the season. Hopefully we can get some guys healthy and finish out the season with somewhat of the team we started with.”

The Warriors, 1-8, have played the majority of their games missing an average of 10-12 players who were starters when the season kicked off in August. The biggest injury blow came in the second quarter of the third game of the season when quarterback Jake McBroom suffered a broken collarbone. The next game resulted in more injuries, including a concussion that ended the season for wide receiver Julian Arteaga.

“It’s been like a revolving door of injuries this season for some reason,” said Pickett. “We’ll get guys back and then we’ll lose guys as well.”

One of the reasons for the injuries could be a tough schedule that included games against Division I teams Torrey Pines and El Camino and Division II schools Westview and Valley Center. The Warriors simply didn’t match up physically with those opponents.

“It definitely isn’t helping the situation,” said Pickett of the mismatches.

Arteaga was back on the football field Friday, Oct. 20, only he was wearing a tuxedo instead of a football uniform. Arteaga got crowned again, but this time it was much more pleasant as he was named Homecoming King.

The Homecoming Ceremony was the best part of the evening for Fallbrook, which was defeated 48-0 by Valley Center. Warrior highlights were pretty much limited to Darius Watson’s block of a PAT attempt in the third quarter, and runs of 13- and 37-yards by Jalen Webb that resulted in first downs.

Two plays after Webb’s 37-yard run – coming on Fallbrook’s first offensive possession of the second half – the Warriors turned the ball over on a fumble. It was one of three Warrior turnovers.

“It’s just frustrating,” said Pickett. ‘You see a good play and then a string of bad plays. It’s just very inconsistent right now. So that’s the frustrating part – I think for the players and the coaches as well – how do we get some consistently in playing well.”

Despite the tough season and having to face bigger opponents most Fridays, Pickett said his players have continued to battle hard.

“They’re definitely not quitting,” said Pickett. “There’s no back down in any of them. That’s a tough little group. They’re definitely there to compete, and they’re fighting until the end.”

The won-loss record aside, Pickett, who installed a new offense in his first season at the helm of the football team, takes solace in that his squad has gained some knowledge this season.

“They’re definitely learning a lot,” said Pickett. “It’s just a new system, a new (coaching) staff. It stinks that the light bulb is starting go off for some of them as we end the season, but hopefully we can carry this into next year and build on it.”

The Warriors will try to end this year on a positive note when they host Rancho Buena Vista at Fallbrook Stadium Nov. 3. Game time is 7 p.m.

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