By brandon Judeh
It took six quarters for Austintown Fitch to give up a score in 2013. When Akron Hoban finally broke through and was threatening to take control, junior running back Darrin Hall rescued the Falcons.
Early in the fourth quarter, with Fitch clinging to a 20-12 lead, Hall pulled off the two biggest plays of the game.
On third-and-23, the highly touted junior broke through the left side of the line for a 31-yard gain and a much-needed momentum boost. Moments later, Hall dazzled the Fitch Falcon Stadium crowd with a spectacular 38-yard touchdown run and Fitch went on to win, 27-12.
“There was great blocking on that play and I knew I just needed to read the blocks and make the play,” Hall said.
“That was a big play for our offense because at that point in the game Hoban had all the momentum and had scored 12 consecutive points,” Hall said. “Again the offensive line did a great job and really picked me up.”
One week after destroying Warren G. Harding, 48-0, the Falcons had their hands full with the Knights.
Early problems handling the ball on punt returns kept Fitch (2-0) off the board in the first quarter, but the Falcons soared in the second.
Quarterback Antwan Harris ran the read option to perfection and scored on a 14-yard play to put the Falcons on the board.
“It’s so fun to run that play, coach (Phil Annarella) drew that play up for me and I did what I had to do,” Harris said.
With less than 3 minutes remaining in the half, Gabe Chepke, the Falcons’ other quarterback made a spectacular run of his own.
The senior ran right, cut back, and then exploded down the left sideline and into the end zone for a 27-yard touchdown to put Fitch on top 14-0.
“Between Hall, Harris and Chepke our running game has been very consistent and our defense has been good, but we aren’t satisfied,” Annarella said. “We still need to get better.”
Moments before halftime Hall broke a 40-yard run down to the Knights’ 1-yard line and on the next play Harris punched it in to give Fitch a comfortable 20-0 halftime lead.
Hall finished with 24 carries for 231 yards. Harris added 91 yards.
“We still need to work on our passing, because we aren’t consistent with it,” Harris said. “We definitely need to work on it in practice.”
“This was a huge win for us, but we need to get better,” he said. “We need to get out there Monday at practice and keep working hard and improving.”
Fitch’s Brian Pressley had an interception and linebacker Sam Ortz had several key stops and a sack.
Freshman running back Todd Sibley rushed for 117 yards for Hoban (0-2).