The Falcons are now 2-0 against their future Federal League opponents after registering a 28-14 victory.
By JOE SCALZO
VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF
CANTON -- The move to the Federal League is still a year away, but the Austintown Fitch High football team wanted to make an early statement this season.
Make that two early statements.
The Falcons improved to 2-0 against their future league rivals by beating Canton GlenOak 28-14 Saturday night at Fawcett Stadium.
"If our program continues to improve, we're going to be just fine in that league," Fitch coach Carl Pelini said.
Quarterback Jason Aikens ran for 115 yards and a touchdown and Mark Matzye added two rushing touchdowns for the Falcons (3-1), who have bounced back from an opening loss to Chaney to beat Massillon Jackson, Mansfield and GlenOak.
"We showed them what Fitch and the [Steel Valley Conference] are all about," Matzye said. "But you have to give credit to our O-line. They've been doing it for the last three weeks."
Matzye said he can sense a different attitude in the Falcons this season.
"There's a lot more leadership," he said. "We're like a family. We talk to each other. I think there were some quitters here before, but we've got a tight group that has a positive attitude."
Miles Williams caught three passes for 65 yards and Davanzo Tate added 63 yards rushing and a touchdown for Fitch.
"I'm happy with our start, but I'm very happy that we've done it against such a high level of competition," Pelini said. "Our schedule gets more and more difficult."
"I'm real excited," Matzye said. "We've got them in Austintown and we'll see what we've got."
Opened with long drive
Fitch opened the game with a 15-play, 96-yard drive capped by an 18-yard touchdown run by Aikens. The drive chewed up 7 minutes and 52 seconds.
Aikens had six carries for 54 yards on the drive, including a 25-yard run on third down and 8 at the Falcon 16.
GlenOak tied the game with a 14-play, 65-yard drive, capped by Mark Smith's 5-yard touchdown run. The drive's key play came when quarterback Justin Seeton hit wide-out Harold Fannin for a 16-yard gain on fourth and 6.
Matzye gave the Falcons a 14-7 lead on a 3-yard touchdown run with 1:54 left in the first half.
Fitch out-rushed GlenOak 158-33 in the first half and held a 174-69 edge in total yards.
Clutch fourth downs
The Falcons went ahead 21-7 with a 12-play, 55-yard drive in which they twice converted fourth downs. Matzye converted the second fourth down with a 1-yard touchdown run.
Tate put the game away with a 5-yard touchdown run with 5:31 left in the fourth quarter.
GlenOak added a late touchdown pass from Seeton to Brian Hartline.
Smith finished with 71 yards on 17 carries. Seeton hit just 8 of 19 passes for 93 yards.
Falcon senior lineman Mike McGlynn had a sack and a batted pass, but injured his leg in the first half and did not return.