Bad day for Falcons in Burlington

Falcon running back Henry Mead finds some all-too-rare breathing space during the Falcons’ 45-0 loss to  Burlington-Edison High School on Friday night as District 1 playoff games began. Mead ended the year with 1,247 yards rushing, second in the conference.   - Jeff VanDerford / The Record
Falcon running back Henry Mead finds some all-too-rare breathing space during the Falcons’ 45-0 loss to Burlington-Edison High School on Friday night as District 1 playoff games began. Mead ended the year with 1,247 yards rushing, second in the conference.
— image credit: Jeff VanDerford / The Record

In its first, and last, District 1 playoff game, the Falcon football team was thoroughly outgunned by the Burlington-Edison Tigers, losing 45-0 at Burlington on Friday.

The Falcons’ 2009 football season ended with a 4-4 record in the Cascade Conference,

5-6 overall.

“Sometimes you lose because you don’t play well, other times because you aren’t prepared mentally or physically,” said Falcon co-coach Mark Hodson. “Tonight, we got beat by a better team. Simple as that.”

A South Whidbey fumble on the second play of the game led directly to a Tiger touchdown with 10:35 left in the first quarter, and it was pretty much downhill from there.

“That first fumble was my fault,” said Falcon running back Henry Mead, who had just 18 yards on 18 carries against Burlington’s first-string defense. He finished the night with

52 yards on 24 tries.

“The fact is, the Tigers just seemed to be out of our league,” Mead said. “They were on our side of the ball almost as it was snapped, and it’s hard to get something going when the other team’s defense has that capability.”

Much credit is due to All-Con-ference Tiger nose tackle Jack Nevitt, who functioned as point man for Burlington’s interior line at the point of attack, reaching Falcon quarterback Hunter Rawls before he could get a play going. Time after time.

“They had the speed, the size and the strength,” Rawls said. “Their penetration, especially the nose guard, was quick, and they got to me pretty fast.”

After the initial turnover, Burlington drove just 26 yards for its first score in the first quarter.

The Tigers were unstoppable, scoring twice more for a 21-0 lead at the end of the period. They then capitalized on Falcon turnovers to score twice more, and it was 35-0 at the half.

Burlington-Edison started just two drives in its own territory all night and generally took advantage of five Falcon fumbles, including one on each of its first two drives.

“You can’t turn it over that many times and expect to do well,” Falcon co-coach Andy Davis said. “Their nose guard was really a force.”

That wasn’t the only hurdle the Falcons had to overcome.

Tiger head coach Bruce Shearer, after noting it took only a few plays to realize the Tigers outmanned South Whidbey, pinpointed the problem.

“We have 60-plus guys in uniform ready to go; you brought about 30,” he noted.

“We only have one player working both sides of the line, and you have most of your team playing both offense and defense. Kids wear out fast when under the kind of pressure we put to them tonight.”

In the second half, the Tigers cycled in their bench to give younger players experience; they then scored one TD in the third and a field goal in the fourth to make the final butcher’s bill 45-0.

Defensive back Tyler “Chuck” Norris summed up the reality late in the fourth quarter.

“Tough night, all around,” he said.

Rawls played an outstanding defensive game and led all tacklers, but had to revert to quarterback when the Falcons got the ball and was unable to get a solid offense going.

“When I’m on defense, my mindset is to look for the guy with the ball and take him out,” Rawls said. “But then we get the ball back (often after another touchdown) and [their offense] gave me no time to make reads, or even make a solid handoff to Henry. Yeah, it’s hard to make the switch, especially when they have the ability to get inside.”

Mead said he felt that his teammates were a little nervous before the game.

“I think we beat ourselves up a bit,” he said. “Maybe we tried to do too much.”

Though both schools are rated 2A, Burlington-Edison is at the high end of the scale with 1,181 students versus 550 at South Whidbey; counting JV and the “C” squad, they have

100 players on the football team.

Mead said the disparity between the size of the schools shouldn’t matter.

“During the game, it’s 11 versus 11, no matter what, and we’re used to that,” he said.

Mead ended the season rated

second in the league with 1,247 yards rushing and 12 touchdowns.

After Mead, Danny Zuver had 16 yards on five carries and Dustin Varney 12 yards on two carries for the Falcons.

For the defense, Rawls led with nine tackles, Zuver had eight (two for a loss), Joe Kinser added seven tackles (two for a loss), and Norris had four tackles, and one sack on the night.

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