The Falls City football team outscored the Fairbury Jeffs 14-0 in the final 24 minutes to secure a 29-15 win at Jug Brown Stadium on Friday night.
The Jeffs struck first, scoring on a 44-yard TD pass with 4:58 to play in the first to take a 7-0 lead. Facing a first and 25 from the 44, QB Jacob Nippert found Tannor Neumiler down the right sideline for the score.
The Tigers should resolve, responding with a four-minute and five-second drive. QB Blakely Sells guided a strong FC run game to move the Tigers down the field. Sells then found Wyatt Olberding for 12 yards and Kadyn Strecker for 23 more to put FC at the Fairbury 13-yard line. On third and three at the six, running back Isaac Frederick cut through the line for the score. The PAT run by Sells gave FC an 8-7 lead just five seconds into the second quarter.
After a Sells interception on the next Falls City drive, Fairbury scored on a four-yard TD run by Jaret Wood to retake the lead, 15-8, with just 32 seconds to go in the half.
When the Tigers needed it most, FC got fireworks from kick returner Frederick as he picked up a loose ball, made a couple of defenders miss, and scooted down the right sideline for an 85-yard kickoff return for the score. The PAT kick by Jaxten Jorgensen sent the teams into the locker rooms, all tied at 15.
The second half belonged to Falls City. A kick return by Strecker put FC at their 40 to open the third quarter. FC then devoured 5:19 seconds as they drove 60 yards in ten plays, capped by a 1-yard TD run by Frederick on a sweep left. The PAT kick by Jorgensen put FC in front 22-15.
Falls City sealed the win in the fourth. QB Sells led FC on a clock-eating 12-play drive that covered 60 yards and ate up over seven minutes of the game clock. On third and six at the 14, Sells found Strecker for the score, effectively ending the contest. The PAT kick by Jorgensen put FC in front 29-15 with 3:58 remaining.
After the Tiger defense forced a turnover on downs, FC ran the clock out, giving the home team a 14-point win, 29-15.
The Tigers outgained Fairbury 111-69 on the ground, while the Jeffs had a slight 158 to 112 edge through the air. The Tigers finished with 16 first downs and held an advantage in game possession, 27:54 to 20:06.
Sells had a monster game on offense, running effectively all night long. Sells finished with 109 yards on the ground on 17 attempts and completed 10/12 attempts for 112 yards with one INT and a TD. Frederick added 19 rushing yards and two scores. Strecker was the leading receiver for FC, finishing with 67 yards and a score on five catches. Olberding also snagged five balls for 45 yards, including a long of 17 yards.
Defensively, Derek Helmick had nine stops, including two and a half tackles for loss and half a sack. Olberding added six stops, Frederick had five and Zane Ebel had for stops, including a sack and tackle for loss.
The win put FC at 1-1 and avenged a 56-7 loss in Fairbury last fall. FC travels to Omaha Concordia on Friday to take on the 0-2 Mustangs. Last season, Falls City defeated Concordia 27-10.
(Photos by Chelsie Alexander)