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Falcons score 47-22 win in Pennsylvania

October 17, 2018
Nik Zirounis , The Town Crier

Fighting to stay in the playoffs, the Fitch football team could not afford a letdown when it traveled to Pennsylvania to play Erie McDowell last Friday evening.

A hiccup on the road against the 4-4 Trojans would certainly not have ended the Falcons playoff aspirations, but it sure would have put a large dent in those dreams. Thankfully, the Fitch offense wouldn't allow anything negative to happen to the season. Senior running back Roddell Bebbs would have the best game of his career, rushing for 227 yards and four touchdowns as the Falcons proved to be a bit too fast for their hosts in a 47-22 runaway victory. Fitch upped its season record to 6-2 and should stay in the top eight of this week's computer rankings. Entering the game in Erie, the Falcons sat at number five in Division I, Region I, which makes them eligible for a playoff appearance.

Bebbs was beautiful for the Falcons as he punctured the Trojans defensive front on multiple occasions throughout the contest. He scored on runs of 1, 18, 34 and 82 yards and seemed to get stronger as the game went on. The senior's performance was so powerful there are rumors he is at the top of everyone's waiver wire list in Fantasy Football. His head coach was his biggest fan last Friday.

"(Bebbs) ran like a man possessed," said Fitch coach Phil Annarella. "He had a phenomenal game. He broke a lot of tackles and a made a few people miss."

The coach then added it would be remiss to not congratulate the Fitch blockers for aiding in Bebbs' historic evening.

"You can't overlook the job of the offensive line," Annarella said. "They opened a lot of holes. Anytime you get a game like that, you know the offensive line played well."

As well as Fitch's offensive unit did, it was still a relatively close game in the third quarter. A couple of bad mistakes by the Falcons allowed the home squad to hang around and trail by just 10 points. Annarella's troops needed a wild 20-point third period to put the game away in Erie. A 28-yard touchdown run by versatile Ralph Fitzgerald and a 41-yard scoring strike from quarterback Bobby Cavalier to receiver Cory Vernon sandwiched Bebbs' 18-yard jaunt. Those three scores made up for some of the errors that Annarella wasn't too pleased to talk about.

"We did a couple of dumb things early that we just can't do," said the coach. "We had some mistakes on special teams that led to (Erie) getting a 1-yard drive, a 3-yard drive and a safety."

The resiliency of his group made the veteran coach a little happier.

"I'm proud of how we fought through those mistakes," Annarella said. "It was a good win."

So now it's on to what should be a playoff type atmosphere in Austintown this Friday night as the Falcons welcome rival Boardman to town. The 5-3 Spartans are stacked with talent and will present the Falcons with an enormous challenge. Boardman bounced hapless Ursuline a week ago 38-14 to bounce back from a grueling three-point loss to Warren Harding in Week 7. Coach Annarella points to that game against the Raiders as why he thinks this week's game will be grinding.

"(Boardman) played very well against Harding," Annarella explained. "It'll be like a playoff game for both of us. They'll come in here fired up and ready for us."

The Spartans will also come into Austintown looking to do something they haven't done for quite a while and that's win there. It has been almost 20 years since the Spartans nabbed one on the road in this series.

"I wasn't even here the last time (Boardman) won here," said Annarella. "It's a good thing and I hope it continues."

That trend may not last, however, if the Falcons continue to do some of the "dumb things" that Annarella alluded to after the McDowell matchup.

"We need to clean up some things on special teams," said the coach. "We can't have those self-inflicted wounds against good teams."



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