WHITERIVER — The 3-1 Alchesay Falcons had not played a home game since an Oct. 25, 2019, win versus the Hopi Bruins.

Following the 8-3 season the District 20 School Board would elect to sit out the 2020 football season due to the high number of positive COVID-19 cases in the area.

With other schools in the area continuing to play football, the Falcons’ players stayed home taking online classes. Seniors would lose their fourth and final year of football without a say in the matter.

Some of those players from that playoff team suited up for the Falcons on Friday night as Holbrook brought a 4-1 record to town. The Roadrunners featured a dual-threat quarterback in Marcus Oberriter. The Roadrunners were coming off a 52-0 win over the Pinon Eagles the previous week.

With the lights at Fred Lewis Field once again shining bright, Falcons were ready to showcase their power run attack to the home crowd. The school board approved a crowd of 300 fans to attend the game with face masks and social distancing in place.

With Alchesay needing to travel the first four games this season, the Falcons needed some home cooking to help recover from a tough loss on Sept. 24, losing by two points in the closing seconds at Miami 46-44.

With a home game on the schedule, the Whiteriver community finally got its first taste of Falcon football in two years with last week’s game against Holbrook.

Bridget Bones, the Alchesay principal’s secretary and gatekeeper for many years at home football games, and others were “all very excited that we get the chance to see the Falcons play in front of us. We’ve all been talking about it and we can’t wait to see them. We all miss the Friday night lights,” Bones said.

Running back Kakoa Upton has lead the Falcons in rushing yards and touchdowns scored this season. With a chilly breeze from the north to start the game, the Falcons would put up the first point of the night with a 10-yard sweep to the right for a touchdown run by Upton. A two-point conversion made the score 8-0.

Oberriter threw a 19-yard touchdown pass as Holbrook tied the game at 8 in the second quarter.

Holbrook stopped the Falcons on a turnover on downs, and Oberriter ran 80 yards for a touchdown and a 16-8 lead. The Falcons’ defense would get a score with Ty Gushoney sacking Oberriter for a safety to make the score 16-10.

The Roadrunners took a 24-10 lead at halftime on Oberriter’s 89-yard touchdown pass to Izzy Ramos.

Holbrook’s Kyle Smith started the second half with a highlight by returning the kickoff for a touchdown for a 32-10 score. Holbrook’s defense added some points of its own as Tristan Cowboy took a fumble recovery 30 yards for a touchdown making the score 40-10.

The Falcons offense would fight its way down the field and come away with a passing touchdown by Max Lupe, but a missed extra point put the score at 40-16.

Oberriter scored again for Holbrook with a draw right up the middle for 52 yards, ending the third quarter with 48-16 lead.

The Falcons kept to their offense and got another score on Upton’s 12-yard run giving the Falcons 24 points.

Roadrunners running back Daniel Montijo put the icing on the cake with 44- and 8-yard scores to cap off the scoring for the final 62-24 score.

Oberriter put on a show accounting for four scores and 328 yards of total offense. The Roadrunners improved to 5-1 with the win, and the Falcons dropped to 3-2.

Both teams will need to play one more game to become eligible for the state playoffs. Holbrook takes on the Hopi Bruins on Saturday while the Falcons have a week off. They return to play at 7 p.m. Oct. 14 at home against Hopi.

Jim Headley is a lifelong journalist and photojournalist and served as a reporter and editor in Nebraska, Wyoming and Kansas for more than three decades. Reach the Editor at jheadley@wmicentral.com

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