A first for Fallston: berth in state playoffs


November 08, 2008|By Sandra McKee | Sandra McKee,sandra.mckee@baltsun.com

The atmosphere was intense last night, as the Fallston Cougars overcame Rising Sun to win, 35-14, and advance to postseason play for the first time in school history.

"I'm proud of each and every one of you," Fallston coach Dave Cesky told his team shortly after being drenched in the traditional Gatorade bath. "You've done something no other football team at this school has ever done."

Cesky has been at Fallston for all 31 varsity seasons. He has seen his teams post records of 9-1, 8-2 and 7-3 and still be shut out of the playoffs. But this year, finally, with a 7-3 record, the Cougars have made it into the Class 3A East Regional playoffs..

"It's so exciting," said senior linebacker Ryan Ziolkowski, who picked off his first pass of the season to set up what would be the winning touchdown, a 6-yard run by Tony Johnson, one of five scored by the senior backup tailback.

"I'm speechless," said Johnson, who was anything but during the game. He scored on runs of 13, 90, 6, 60 and 74 yards.

When the team's starting quarterback, Garrett Weinhold, went out of the game on the first series of the second half with an ankle injury and Fallston uneasily ahead at 14-7, it was Johnson who gave the pep talk on the sidelines.

"We are not going to lose this game," he shouted to his teammates. "I do not want my high school career to end tonight!"

Moments later, Ziolkowski grabbed his interception and Johnson scored to make it 21-7.

"It's like getting a monkey off our backs," said Cesky. "It's been 32 years here. Thirty-one varsity seasons, and it did kind of irritate."

The coach smiled, the irritation gone.

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