WESTERN PENNSYLVANIA Farrell drops opener against Ellwood City
The Steelers' early mistakes were costly in the 13-6 defeat.
By BILL ALBRIGHT
FARRELL -- It was a typical season opener when Farrell played host to Ellwood City in a non-conference football game at Paulekas Stadium Friday night.
The game featured a lot of mistakes, a number of missed assignments, lots of cramps and a few big plays.
When the issue was finally decided, Ellwood City outlasted the Steelers, 13-6.
"They beat us 41-6 last year so I guess you could say that at least we know that we are a little for real this year," said Farrell coach Lou Falconi. "We played much better in the second half, but we have to learn to protect the football and not fumble it so much and we also have to play better defense."
Two early mistakes
The Wolverines put two of Farrell's mistakes to good use in the first half as they took a 5-0 lead at the break.
On their second possession of the game, the Steelers found themselves facing a punting situation from their own 8-yard line. When the snap from center went over the punter's head and out of the end zone for a safety, Elwood City led 2-0.
With neither team posing a threat for the next 16 minutes, the Wolverines took advantage of another Farrell mistake that gave them excellent field position at the Steeler 28. Again it was a bad snap from center that led to the turnaround.
Three passing plays only netted 6 yards, but Mark Mason put his right foot to good use as he kicked a 38-yard field goal for a 5-0 Ellwood City lead at halftime.
"We spotted them the two [points] and then they took advantage of a high snap from center and we had to scramble," said Falconi. "That gave them good field position and they end up with a field goal."
Still in the game
Despite facing the 5-0 deficit at halftime, Falconi was quick to remind his team that one touchdown and they would have the lead.
The Wolverines scored their only touchdown of the night on their first possession of the second half as they went 68 yards on nine plays, Jeff Ketterer capping the march with a 3-yard TD run.
"We didn't play defense when we had to," said Falconi. "In the two scrimmages we saw them in, they found a weakness in our defense and they sure moved on that. I think we have enough talent to become a good football team and I also think Terrell Davis will become a nice tailback for us and I think we established that tonight. Those are two positives we can take from this game and I'll be able to sleep better tonight knowing that."
As for the Ellwood City TD drive, Wolverine coach Curt Agostinelli said it was just a matter of getting back to basics.
"I told the guys at halftime that we had to stop throwing the ball all over the place," he said. "I reminded them that in our league, if you aren't able to run the ball, you aren't going to win so we just came and ran the football and that opened some of the other things up for us as well."
Farrell finally scores
Trailing 13-0, Farrell put together its only scoring drive of the night covering 65 yards on five plays, the march capped by a 46-yard touchdown run by Davis. After showing only 32 yards at halftime, Davis finished with a game-high 113 yards on 16 carries and one touchdown.
"We played much better in the second half and that drive we had behind the power people inside was great," said Falconi. "Terrell [Davis] made a nice break off for the score, but we were playing with a lot of people cramped up. But the fact remains that we still screwed ourselves up with fumbles and you can't do that and win ball games."
Farrell only had one possession in the fourth quarter, and when that fell short of the chains at the Ellwood City 42, the Wolverines ran out the clock to preserve the win.