Eight wins down two more to go for the Fitch football team to make history.
Thanks to another impressive Federal League win, a 48-10 pasting of Massillon Perry on Oct. 15 in Austintown, the Falcons are now just two victories away from a perfect regular season. More importantly, if Fitch does conclude the season 10-0 it will also capture the Federal League championship.
The visitors from Massillon actually got on the scoreboard first last Friday when they picked up a field goal seven minutes into the game. Hopefully, the Panthers enjoyed that early advantage because it would be the last one they would have the rest of the night. Early on Fitch’s ensuing drive, quarterback Demitrious Davis would scamper 61 yards for a touchdown and a 6-3 Fitch lead. Davis would then hook up with his new favorite target Lucas Haupt on a 53-yard touchdown bomb to push his team’s lead to 13-3. After masterful Massillon runner Jon Miller made the score 13-10 with a three-yard touchdown run midway through the second quarter, Fitch’s defense took over the ballgame. Fitch’s D would not allow another score over the final 29 minutes of the contest and would not allow Miller to make much of an impact as he has done countless times this season.
“I was very pleased with the way our defense played,” said Fitch head coach Phil Annarella. “(Our defense) was very efficient holding (Perry) to 10 points. We also did a good job versus Miller overall. He was a already a 1000 yard rusher coming in. We did what we had to do against him.”
Miller did make nearly 150 yards on the ground, but many of those numbers did not hurt the Falcons. The Panthers did not hurt the Falcons through the air either. Perry could not even pick up 100 yards passing in the game due to Fitch’s fine play both up front and in the secondary.
“It has been a total team effort all year on defense,” said Annarella, “but (Steve) Zaborsky played a great game on the defensive line and Cam Patterson did a good job on (Perry’s) wide receiver.”
Not only did Zaborsky live large on defense, but he also helped open up holes all game as a member of Fitch’s offensive line. The future Youngstown State Penguin and his line mates, Billy Price, Zach Zupp, Chris Penson and Dion Mathews enabled Davis to rush for 165 yards and three touchdowns. Fitch totaled a tick under 250 yards rushing including second half touchdown runs by Shane Stevens and Ty’Reese Anderson to complete the blowout. Coach Annarella was aware how well his offensive line has been improving since week one and it was justified last week.
“The offensive line has gotten better each week,” said the coach. “That has been great to see. They are working hard as a unit and are gelling well.”
Fitch has been gelling as a team so much this season not only because the offense and defense has been dominant, but the special teams have contributed as well. Kick returner Larry Vines scored as important a touchdown as there was the whole night for the Falcons when he returned the opening kickoff of the second half 78 yards for a touchdown. That wonderful return turned a cozy 20-10 Fitch lead into a comfortable 27-10 advantage.
Annarella’s boys will need to be proficient in all three phases once again this week if they are to go to Uniontown Lake and come home 9-0. The Blue Streaks have been a pain in the side to Federal League teams this year. Lake has already beaten Canton McKinley and Boardman this season and with the Spartans standing in the wings waiting for a season-ending showdown with Fitch next week, Annarella knows his team must remained focused this Friday.
“We will have our hands full,” said Annarella. “There are no easy games (in the Federal League). At this point when you are undefeated you have a huge target on your back.”
Lake’s largest target may be running back Jim Luther who has been hampered by injury a lot in 2010, but when he is on the field, Luther has been leading Lake.
“Luther is back for them and he is a star athlete,” Annarella acknowledged. “They are healthier than they have been at any point this year.”
The Falcons are pretty healthy themselves these days literally and figuratively, which should make the Blue Streaks feel pretty ill.