It is believed Yogi Berra uttered the phrase, “It’s déjà vu all over again,” after watching Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle repeatedly hit back-to-back home runs during the early 1960’s as a member of the New York Yankees.
Friday’s 68-29 dust-up of Fairbury closed the doors on another successful regular season for Falls City, who used a repeat, season-long performance from last season to mark a first in the school’s history – back-to-back 20-win seasons. Another “déjà vu” moment awaits, as a potential repeat of last year’s district championship and second-straight must-win situation awaits next week against a team FC has grown quite familiar with over the past two years, Lincoln Christian.
Seventh-ranked FC (21-2) and the second-ranked Crusaders (16-6), who met in last year’s district final in basketball – Christian won 51-45 – and thrice the two faced each other the past two seasons in football, must first take care of business this week during sub-district play.
FC, despite winning five-straight games and laying claim to a class C-1 best 21 victories, fell from second to fifth in the wild card standings over the weekend and will now, most likely, need to win three in a row to reach the state tournament Mar. 13-15 in Lincoln. The Tigers open with Auburn (9-12) tonight at 5:45 in Beatrice and, barring an upset, face the winner of Johnson County Central (15-8) and Syracuse (9-13) Thursday at 7 p.m. in the subdistrict final.
The Crusaders subdistrict should be a cakewalk. Christian opens tonight against winless Raymond Central and should advance to Thursday’s final against either Conestoga (1-21) or Lincoln Lutheran (7-16).
Boone Central/Newman Grove (18-5, No. 2 wild card) should face Wayne (20-4, No. 4 WC) Monday night in their district final, while Columbus Scotus (18-4, No. 1 WC) and Columbus Lakeview (15-7, No. 11 WC) share a subdistrict, as do Bishop Neumann (16-6, No.6 WC) and Wahoo (19-4, No. 3), leaving Wayne, Wahoo, Neumann or Scotus, to claim the two wild card berths. This leaves the Tigers and Crusaders on the outside looking in and sets up the “do or die” match up Monday night.
Friday the Tigers were led by seniors Tyler DiGiacomo and Mitchell Harling, who scored 12 points each, and juniors Jordy Stoller, Jack Hartman and Weston Witt pitched in nine, eight and seven points, respectively.
The Tigers led 23-7, 42-14 and 58-16 at the quarter breaks, as they forced 20 turnovers and held Fairbury to field goal attempts.
Harling hit 1-of-3 attempts from downtown and in doing so, tied David Hillyard’s 16-year-old school record for career three-pointers with 98. Also, if Harling raises his three-point percentage (currently 39.7) by three-tenths of a point, he’d become just the fourth to finish a season at or above 40 percent.
Rest assured if the two advance to Monday’s district final (at a place and time yet to be announced), get there early and stay late because with these two teams’ familiarity with one another, it’ll be a dog fight and borrowing again from the legendary Hall of Fame Yankee backstop, “It ain’t over ‘til it’s over.”
Scoring vs. Fairbury
FC – DiGiacomo 12, Harling 12, Hartman 8, Stoller 9, Witt 7, Mount 6, Schawang 3, Gibson 3, Jordening 2, Heckenlively 2, Hogue 2, Stutheit 2.