SVC FOOTBALL Streaks crumble with Fitch's win
Davanzo Tate's block of an extra-point kick preserved the win over Mooney.
By TOM WILLIAMS
VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF
YOUNGSTOWN -- In its final Steel Valley Conference season, the Fitch High football team wiped out two streaks Saturday with a 17-16 victory over Mooney.
The victory snapped the Falcons' 12-year losing streak at Stambaugh Stadium. And according to Fitch coach Carl Pelini, the Falcons' two-game winning streak over the Cardinals is the first in their long rivalry.
The difference was the speed of Fitch's Davanzo Tate, who broke through the Mooney line and blocked a game-tying extra-point kick to preserve the Falcons' first win on the Youngstown State campus since 1989.
"He's fast and a playmaker," Pelini said. "It's tough to win Steel Valley games on the road, so I'm happy. We're 4-2, we can correct the mistakes and it's a big win for us."
The Falcons (4-2, 1-0 SVC) snapped a 10-10 tie late in the third quarter by marching 70 yards on 13 plays.
Miles Williams had nine carries for 38 yards on the drive, including the 3-yard touchdown run that put Fitch ahead. Shea Stewart's extra-point kick proved to be the game-winning point.
Mooney (3-3, 0-2), behind the leadership of quarterback Ron Stoops, rallied early in the fourth quarter after recovering a fumble at the Fitch 29.
Stoops scrambled for a 25-yard gain, setting up Bob McCabe's 1-yard touchdown run.
Man of the hour
"We expected to win, but not like this," said Tate after he broke through the Mooney line and knocked down Dustin Hinkle's conversion attempt.
Tate wasn't surprised he made the block with 6:45 to go because his opponent "was barely getting a piece of me. If I [took] a nice, tight course, I knew I had a chance to block it."
Late in the second quarter, Tate almost made another block when Hinkle kicked a 24-yard field goal that tied the score at 10.
"It went underneath me," Tate said. "I overshot it the first time, so I decided to stay up on it the second time."
In the first half, Mooney rallied from a 10-point deficit.
After being stopped on four downs on their first possession, the Falcons scored 10 points the next two times they had the ball.
Stewart's 25-yard-field goal put the Falcons ahead 3-0 with 4:02 remaining in the first quarter.
On their next series, Tate took a pitchout from quarterback Jason Aikens and ran to the far left for a 3-yard touchdown with 9:29 to go.
Having been limited to 8 yards on their first seven rushing attempts, the Cardinals turned to Stoops, who hit Dean Palombaro for a 28-yard gain to midfield.
Stoops' next two passes on the 80-yard scoring drive found Brad Handel for pickups covering 20 and 24 yards, the latter for a touchdown that cut Fitch's lead to 10-7.
Just before halftime, the Cardinals forced the Falcons to punt from deep in their zone and capitalized with Hinkle's field goal.
Williams led the Falcons with 62 yards rushing on 17 carries.
Stoops completed 8-of-17 passes for 128 yards.