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Falcons roll to second straight win
September 11, 2019

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Fitch's football team was attempting to follow up on an inspirational opening week win when it hosted Ursuline last Friday night at Austintown's Greenwood Chevrolet Stadium.

A huge defensive performance guaranteed that it happened. The Falcons forced a few turnovers and held the Irish offense to just 260 total yards as Fitch improved to 2-0 with a 27-7 victory. It marked the second straight season in which the Falcons kicked off the year with back-to-back wins.

"Always feels good after a win," said rookie head coach Jon Elliot. "I am proud of the kids. They've worked hard (in practice) and its paying off."

Fitch hit pay dirt for the first time last Friday in the first quarter when sophomore Devin Sherwood plunged in from three yards out. Fitch held a 7-0 lead after that tally. The Falcons would then score twice more in the second stanza. Quarterback Nate Leskovac would scamper 15-yards for a touchdown to make it 14-0. That score culminated a nice 11-play, 73-yard scoring march by Leskovac and his mates. After Ursuline would cut Fitch's lead in half, the home team would cross the goal line again. With just six seconds remaining before halftime and Sherwood now in at quarterback, Sherman threw one up to high-jumping receiver Todd Simons. The six foot three sophomore high-pointed the pigskin and outfought the defender to secure the grab. Fitch led 21-7 at intermission.

"I thought we had time to throw it up in the corner," said Elliot, who chose to go for the touchdown instead of trying a half-ending field goal attempt. "Sherwood made a great throw."

The third quarter was a scoreless one, but the Falcons would tack on one more touchdown in the final frame on a 5-yard run by Leskovac. The junior would jab the Irish for 133 yards rushing and two touchdowns. Sherwood went 12 for 14 throwing the football for 106 yards and a touchdown. The two-headed QB monster combined for 239 total yards and four scores.

Fitch's rushers spread the wealth as well with C.J. Woodberry gaining 39 yards on 10 carries, Tyree Mitchell going 9 for 31 yards and Kyree Long and Tyler Evans each gathering 34 yards. That ability to move the ball on the ground all has to do with scheme according to the coach.

"We want to keep rolling on offense and it's all based on counter," explained Elliot about Fitch's most popular running play. "We run counter about 80 percent of the time in practice so we spend a lot of time on it. When we are doing it well it's hard to defend."

Ursuline's defense did start defending the counter play much better after intermission impressing Elliot.

"(Ursuline) made some adjustments," said the coach. "They did a great job in the second and third quarter slowing us down."

Meanwhile, Fitch's defense was playing at a fast speed all evening. Leskovac and fellow linebacker A.J. Winterburn laid the smack down on the Irish from the outset. Coach Elliot admitted that the defense's domination started in the trenches.

"We got a lot of pressure up front," said Elliot. "We went back to our (old stack) defense because of our speed. (Defensive coordinator) Joe McMahon and his staff did a great job."

The Falcons will try to remain great on the field when they travel to Canton this Friday to meet GlenOak. It'll be Fitch's second road game this year and its 48-26 victory in Pennsylvania proved that the long bus ride wasn't much of a burden.

"This trip isn't as far as Erie and we did ok there," Elliot said.

These two schools haven't met during the football season since 2011 when Fitch was a fellow member of the Federal League. GlenOak is 1-1 and coming off a huge 42-13 win against South Bend Adams in Week 2. The Golden Eagles were mashed by Massillon Washington 55-13 in their opener. They are coming off of a 1-9 season, but Elliot is warning his group not to take the Golden Eagles lightly.

"(GlenOak) has some good athletes," Elliot said. "We need to come ready to play and eliminate some of the penalties we had (against Ursuline). I don't mind the hustle penalties, but the offsides and personal fouls are mental penalties that we can't make. We need to make sure we play hard but play discipline football."

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