It may have not been as dominating a performance as one would have expected, but the Fitch football team improved to 2-0 with a 27-12 win over Akron Hoban last Friday night in the school's home opener.
The Falcons only led downtrodden Hoban by eight points in the fourth quarter and needed a late burst by their rushing attack to avoid an upset loss that would have left Falcon Nation in a state of shock. Still, Fitch's head coach wasn't exactly overwhelmed by his boys' performance.
"It was tougher than I expected," admitted coach Phil Annarella. "We felt that (Hoban) was going to be ready for us all week. We knew they'd give us a challenge."
During the first half of the contest it looked like the only challenge Fitch would have was trying to decide what venue was best for the post-game victory party. Three rushing touchdowns by Fitch quarterbacks - two by Antwan Harris and one by Gabe Chepke - forced the Falcons into a 20-0 halftime lead. Hoban would score the only touchdown in the third period to make the score 20-6 heading into the final frame. Another touchdown by the visitors early in the fourth quarter cut Fitch's lead to 20-12 and made the Fitch faithful sit up in their seats. One of the reason's the Knights were able to charge back into the game was due to some mistakes made by Fitch's special teams.
"We had those self-inflicted wounds I like to talk about," said Annarella trying to stay calm. We fumbled two punts, which is something you can't do. It gives teams chances."
Any chance the Knights thought they had, however, was blown away by the Fitch running game. With just over 5 minutes left in the game, Fitch running back Darrin Hall capped a short drive by dashing for an electrifying 38-yard touchdown run. That score put the Falcons back up by two scores and essentially dented the Knights' armor. Hall would end the evening with 230 yards on the ground as the Falcons' finished with nearly 350 yards rushing as a team. A lot of the credit for that total belongs to Hall's elusiveness, but most of the kudos should be bestowed on Fitch's upstart offensive line.
"Hall had some holes and ran very well," Annarella said, "but we ran for a lot of yardage as a team and that's because of our line. I thought the line did a decent job because (Hoban) lined up and brought the house against us every play."
The Knights weren't able to take the ball to the house before the second half because, for what seems like the millionth time, Fitch's defense was stout most of the night.
"We kept (Hoban) in the game because of some missed opportunities, but our defense came together and kept them out of the end zone," Annarella announced.
The Falcons had it all together in week three last year when it walloped Brunswick, 35-7. No doubt, Brunswick is still bothered by that blasting and will act as rude hosts when the two schools meet this Friday.
"They'll be out to get us after last year," Annarella warned. "They are a very tremendous team."
Brunswick is tremendous enough to have scored 91 points in winning both of its first two games. Yet, with the way Fitch's defense has dazzled lately it seems unlikely that another 40-point effort will be easy for the Blue Devils to come by.