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Falcons send Lakeside swimming in a 49-6 upset

October 10, 2018
The Town Crier

With the calendar flipping to October and playoff selections looming, the Fitch football team needed to take care of business against outmanned Ashtabula Lakeside last Friday night at home.

An enormous first half by Fitch quarterback Bobby Cavalier and great defense throughout the game did just that for the Falcons. Fitch lambasted Lakeside 49-6 to improve to 5-2 overall (1-1 in the All American Conference Gold Tier). The victory also kept the Fitch kids' playoff hopes ticking with three games remaining in 2018.

"We're in Region I (of Division I) so there is no room for error," said Fitch head coach Phil Annarella about the ultra competitive competition in his team's region.

Despite the final score looking like everything was perfect for the Falcons last Friday, there were a few of those errors that the coach was alluding to. Fitch fumbled inside Lakeside's 10-yard line to eliminate a scoring opportunity. There were also a few mental mistakes that cost the Falcons according to Annarella. If those types of things happen frequently in this crucial final month of the regular season, the Falcons may find themselves on the outside looking in when playoff pairings are announced.

"We're making some mistakes that we can't continue to do over the last three weeks," Annarella said. "They are simple things, but it could cost us. Still, we did a lot of things well (versus Lakeside)."

One of the things the Falcons did well against the gang from Ashtabula was throw the football. Quarterback Bobby Cavalier played about as perfect a first half as one can play fro behind center. He went 12 for 13 passing with touchdown tosses of 24 yards to Cory Vernon and 79 yards to Ralph Fitzgerald. Cavalier also carried the ball in for a score right before halftime. Although he only played one series in the second half, the senior slinger was still able to finish the night with 240 yards passing and 25 yards rushing. Coach Annarella was very pleased with the entire passing offense and Cavalier in particular.

"Bobby threw the ball well," said the coach. "We caught the ball well and the pass protection was good. We'll need to be able to throw the ball the rest of the year to keep (opposing defenses) off balance."

Speaking of balance, Fitch had that too against the Dragons. Senior Roddell Bebbs busted two 33-yard touchdown runs and finished the evening with team leading 94 yards rushing. Meanwhile, Fitch's defense held the Dragons to 27 yards rushing on 22 carries and forced two turnovers. Sophomore kicker Carlo Walters was perfect on all seven of his extra point attempts.

Essentially, the last three games on Fitch's schedule will act as a de facto playoff. It starts this Friday night in Erie against McDowell. It'll mark the second time this season the Falcons play a team from that Pennsylvania city (Fitch beat Erie city school 15-8 in Week 2). McDowell is 4-3, but is coming off a crushing 45-6 loss to Erie Cathedral Prep last weekend. Last season, the Falcons shutout the Trojans 20-0 keeping up a very interesting trend.

"We won two games here and they won two games up there," said Annarella. "We need to break serve."

Winning on the road this week may be tough because it'll be McDowell's homecoming game. Making it tougher will be the talent and size the Trojans have on their offense.

"(McDowell) is a balanced team," said Annarella. "They have a sophomore quarterback (Chris Juchno) that doesn't play like a sophomore. He's playing at a high level. They are also big up front, which is typical of a McDowell team."

The Falcons are used to fighting against larger interior lines. They are also used to battling hard when the chips are stacked against them. Annarella hopes he doesn't have to cash in those chips before November.

"We'll take it one week at a time, but yes we do look at this as three straight playoff games," said the coach. "We have to take care of our business."



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