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Falcons end season in Euclid with 35-0 loss

November 7, 2018
Nik Zirounis , The Town Crier

Everyone knew it would take nearly a perfect effort for the Fitch football team to upset highly-ranked Euclid in the opening round of the Division I state playoffs.

Euclid made sure early that would never happen. The Panthers scored a touchdown a minute and ten seconds into the contest then, thanks to a Fitch fumble, found the end zone again a few seconds later. It took barely two minutes of game time for the hosts to lead 14-0. Two more touchdowns before the opening period ended put the Panthers in complete control. Fitch's successful 2018 season ended quietly in Euclid 35-0. It was not the final impression that head coach Phil Annarella wanted his young men to have on their terrific campaign.

"I wanted them to remember the good things we did all season," said the coach. "Especially the seniors. Our whole staff is tremendously proud of what they accomplished (this year)."

The first major accomplishment by the Falcons was reaching the eight-win mark for the first time since 2014. All three of Fitch's losses were at the hand of playoff participants as well. Fitch's playoff birth was the first one earned by the school in three years. That season also ended at the hands of the Euclid outfit. Coach Annarella wasn't entirely confident that his club would be postseason worthy back in August.

"This certainly wasn't one of our most talented teams," Annarella said. "We didn't have a whole lot of experience. We told the kids at the end of spring practice how hard they worked and stuck together. They carried that into the season. That's high school football at its best."

Unfortunately, the Falcons didn't play their best football last Friday night and it showed up in the scorebook. The Fitch boys gained over 200 yards rushing, but that stat was misleading because a lot of those yards came after the game was out of hand. The biggest number was the huge 0 that the Falcons accumulated through the air. The inability to pass hindered any chances Fitch had to forge a miraculous comeback. Annarella gave a large amount of credit to the Panthers for the way they put the clamps on his offense.

"(Euclid) outplayed us," said Annarella. "They are a good football team. We were overmatched. Our kids played hard, but they didn't make any mistakes."

So as Euclid advances to Week 12 to take on legendary Cleveland St. Edward, Annarella and his coaches get ready for the offseason. Although the Falcons roster wasn't littered with experience, it did have a good number of seniors. Quarterbacks Bobby Cavalier and Dom Montalbano are two of those twelfth graders so the Falcons will need to once again find a new signal caller for 2019. Playmakers such as Roddell Bebbs, Ralph Fitzgerald and Cory Vernon will also graduate in a few months. Soon to be three-time letter winner Tommy Leskovac will also be missed. That group as well a dozen other seniors were given some sound advice following the loss to Euclid.

"We told them the sun will come out tomorrow," said Annarella. "We want them to remember great careers and their accomplishments as high school football players. We were so proud of everything they've done."



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