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Mountain Echo Sports

Ron Mosher, Sports Editor

Unless otherwise stated, all photos are by Ron Mosher



Thursday is Thanksgiving - a time that perhaps has some of the best memories of my growing up days. A time when Mom created a masterpiece dinner with enough trimmings to feed a small army. My mouth waters just thinking about those Thanksgiving dinners. A time when us kids headed home - no matter where we lived. A time to stuff ourselves into feeling miserable, but loving every second of the pain. A time where we were thankful for having all the family together - especially as the family grew over the years.

As time has marched on, things are different. Not a whole lot of family left, and the phenomenal dinners are just a memory. I’m so very thankful to have those memories tucked away in the cerebral filing cabinet.

Please don’t feel sorry for this ol’ guy... that’s not the intent of this piece.

Just remember to be thankful for everything you have this Thanksgiving. For family and friends. For the chance to live in the Intermountain Area (AKA God’s Country). For being part of this wonderful area that supports the youngsters who are gathering around the Thanksgiving table this year.

Most of all, be Thankful for everything you have in life - no matter how bountiful or meager. We don’t count the number of toys we’ve accumulated, or the amount in our bank accounts in order to have wonderful things to be thankful for.

Please take a few moments this Thanksgiving to truly examine all you have in life to be thankful for... It will put a smile on your face.

Here are a few of my personal ‘thankful’ items...

• I’m thankful for a job that isn’t a job. Thankful that I get to witness our young people in sports. It’s not whether they win or lose, but whether they are enjoying themselves. If they’re having fun... I’m having fun.

• I’m thankful for getting to know coaches who volunteer countless hours to make young people’s lives better - and there’s a ton of these people who coach. From high school to junior high. From grammar school (yep, the old fashioned term for elementary school) to NFL flag football. From Youth Soccer to Little League - coaches that give up a part of their own lives to enrich the lives of youngsters.

• I’m thankful for community volunteers who have helped make things better in our communities for all of us. Volunteers for youth organizations, volunteers who tutor, volunteers who patrol our streets at night. Volunteers who protect us from fire and the bad guys. Volunteers who give up part of their lives to enrich ours.

• I’m thankful for organizations such as SNIPPP and others who help animals. If it weren’t for organizations like that I wouldn’t have Mr. Kitty terrorizing my life.

• I’m thankful for the men and women (really kids) who serve our country in the military. Thankful also to those older military personnel who we fondly call, ‘our Veterans.’

• Thankful for all the truck drivers and delivery people who bring food and merchandise to our retail outlets... after all, If I had to grow veggies in a garden and go out hunting for meat I’d probably starve to death in a matter of days. I’d die if I had to forego my Oreo’s...

• I’m thankful to all my ‘Friends’ on facebook, who keep me posted on what’s happening so I don’t feel left out of the loop... although I could do without a zillion ‘Selfies’... after all, how much have you changed in just 10 minutes?!?!?!?

• I’m thankful for the young people of the Intermountain Area... thankful that you don’t rip me for putting an occasionally unflattering photo of you playing sports in the paper for all to see. I’m also thankful that our youngsters don’t get too upset when I misspell their name or give a wrong name under a photo.

• Finally, I’m thankful to the good Lord for allowing me this time on earth. Since I’ll be starting my 8th decade in a month - not bad... considering I once thought those 30 years old were reaaaallly old people. Now 80 looks pretty darn young.

So take time to consider how thankful you really are this Thanksgiving... and smile.

FR VOLLEYBALL: Second in Section

Daniela Sanchez digs out a serve from the back row in 4-set  loss to Liberty Christian in the NSCIF D-6 title game in Red Bluff
It was a nip ‘n tuck battle, with Fall River easing ahead at 10-9. However, at that point Liberty took control and outscored the Bulldogs, 6-0 to claim the championship.

“After the game I was asked whether a certain play made a difference in the momentum,” said first year coach Maggie Torres, “But I don’t think it came down to one hit or one serve. Volleyball is a game that can shift so quickly, and Saturday it just didn’t shift in our favor in game five.”
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Winter Sports Set to Start Dec. 2nd
With football season over and volleyball in its final week, time to look ahead to winter sports for local prep teams.

Wrestling will open the season with Big Valley and Fall River at the annual Chester Tournament December 5-6.

Basketball officially tips off December 2 with all four Burney teams at Redding Christian in Palo Cedro. Big Valley girls will be in Fall River the same day for both varsity and JV games starting at 5pm.

Fall River boys begin the 2014-15 season when they host their own Block ‘F’ Tournament starting Thursday, December 4. Big Valley, Burney will join host Fall River and five other teams for the annual affair.

Check out next week’s issue of Mountain Echo for our annual Winter Sports Preview.

Big Valley Swamps Lions to Win Crown

Big Valley’s Michael Bertelsen runs against Lions in title game. Bertelsen
scored three TD’s on the night.

By Ron Mosher
Sports Editor
PALO CEDRO - It was a wet, wild and wonderful night if you were a Cardinal fan here Friday, as the Big Valley squad defeated host Redding Christian, 24-14 to capture the Northern Section CIF Division VI championship.

Redding Christian had put the only blip on the Cardinal season earlier in the year with a 30-26 win, but Big Valley turned the tables in the title tilt to come away with the championship.

The two teams played a scoreless first quarter, despite Big Valley gobbling up yards on the ground.

“We knew they would be looking for us to pass,” said coach Bryan Gerig, “so we stayed on the ground and set the tone for the night.”

In a replay of their first meeting, the Lions drew first blood to take a 6-0 lead in the early moments of the second period. However, unlike their first game against Redding Christian, Big Valley responded with a pass from Kellen Gerig to Tristan Beckett covering 40 yards and six points. Gerig ran in the 2-point conversion and Big Valley was on top, 8-6.

Big Valley again went to the air with just a few seconds left in the half as Gerig hit Tanner Bidwell for 50 yards and a TD to put the Cards in front 14-6 at the half.
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FR Volleyball Fights Way to Second in Section

Fall River’s Sara Westlund retrieves serve while teammate Lisa Lommen looks
on in win over Mercy in semi-finals last Thursday.

RED BLUFF - It all came down to five points - the difference between a championship in division VI and second place in the northern section. Liberty Christian and the Lady Bulldogs of Fall River battled to a fifth game decider here Saturday, with Liberty edging the Bulldogs, 15- 10, to capture the section championship in a 3-2 decision.

The Lady Bulldogs travel to Turlock to take on the Turlock Christian Eagles tonight (Tuesday) in the first ever D-6 Nor-Cal Championship Tournament (See story and bracket on page B2).

The Lady Patriots started the match off with a 25-19 win only to see Fall River win the second with an identical score. Liberty rebounded to take the third set, 25-22, with Fall River falling behind early, but charging back to get back into the game before Liberty finally put it away.

In the fourth set, the Lady Bulldogs took control early and led from the opening serve until the final tally of 25-14 in the most lopsided game of the day. That set up the overtime fifth and deciding set.
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Etna Stuns Bulldogs

Johnny Westlund finished the season as the Bulldogs leading rusher
McARTHUR - In a stunning upset, the number four ranked Etna Lions blanked the top rated team in D-5 here Friday night, 20-0. The loss ended the Bulldogs hopes for a section title as well as putting a quash on their unbeaten string of 10 wins in a row.

Penalties hurt Fall River in the early going, as they floundered and really never recovered.

The two teams did play a scoreless first half, but Etna dominated the scoreboard in the final two quarters to put up 20 points while frustrating the previously unstoppable Bulldog offense.

“We consistently put up 40 points on the board all year,” lamented coach Rick Neugebauer, “then all of a sudden we can’t put anything on the board. It was just a night that wasn’t ours.”

Fall River had chances to turn things around with Etna fumbling six times, but the Lions recovered all of those miscues.

Tanner Gallion, the leading receiver for Fall River injured his back on an early punt return and saw limited action, and it seemed to take the wind out of the Fall River sail. Other players were also shaken up - Jace Neugebauer’s hand bothered him after getting it smashed between two helmets.
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The Various Faces of Coaching
By Ron Mosher
Sports Editor
Every coach will tell you it would be much easier if they could don a uniform and run out onto the court or field of play to help their team. However, coaches are relegated to the sidelines, where they have to watch and hope their players remember what they learned in hours of practice.

When things don’t go according to the script, a time out is called to regroup and re-focus on what the team is supposed to do.

Fall River volleyball coach Maggie Torres (pictured left) agonizes during their recent semifinal match with Mercy. Like all coaches, Maggie lives and dies on the sideline with her team. As a former Lady Bulldog volleyball player, she knows exactly what’s going through each players mind during a tense match - but she can’t play the game for them, that’s their job.

Every coach wants the best for their team. Running the show from the bench or sidelines can be as frustrating as it is rewarding. Some use body language hoping it will help the outcome. Others sit quietly analyzing the game and their next move.

No matter what the coaching style, sometimes watching the coaches is as much fun as watching the kids play.
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It’s not just coaches who ‘get into the game,’ but fans do too. Here a
Fall River Zombie fan  crawls toward the ball  during FR v. Mercy game
Thursday. It’s all in fun, and can sometimes  rattle the  opposition.
This is why it’s called, “Home court advantage.”