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Falcons dominate Boardman

Austintown Fitch defeats rival, most lopsided win in series history

September 22, 2012
By LOU CALI JR. - Tribune Chronicle correspondent ( , Underthelights

AUSTINTOWN - In 2011, Boardman defeated Austintown Fitch 14-0 in Week 10 of the regular season with a playoff spot on the line for the winner.

The Spartans advanced to the Division I post-season by dominating both sides of the line of scrimmage.

"We got manhandled last year," said Fitch coach Phil Annarella.

When asked if the players were angry about being dominated in the trenches, Annarella added, "their head coach sure was."

Whether it was channeled emotions, better talent, superior size and speed, or all of the above, the Falcons got their revenge Friday night - and then some.

Fitch "manhandled" the Spartans on both sides of the lines of scrimmage, got outstanding performances from its quarterback and a third-string running back, and methodically tore apart its opponent, 52-7, to improve to 5-0 on the season. The victory was the most-lopsided in the long history of the two bitter rivals, eclipsing Boardman's 48-7 win in 1997.

"The lines definitely did a tremendous job all night," said Falcon quarterback Matt Futkos.

So did Futkos. The 5-foot-11, 192-pound senior completed 9 of 12 passes for 184 yards and two touchdowns. He also added 85 yards and a touchdown on 10 rushing attempts.

"Matt's just a tremendous gamer," Annarella said.

As impressive as Futkos was, a youngster may have stolen the spotlight. With Fitch missing its top two running backs, sophomore Darrin Hall needed to step up. He did more than that, rushing 18 times for 160 yards and three touchdowns.

"For a sophomore he did a fabulous job," Annarella said. "I'm really proud of him and what he did in his first start."

A pair of Hall scores gave Fitch a 14-0 first-quarter lead. Coach Mark D'Eramo's squad seemed poised to get back in the contest just two plays after the second Hall score, when Nathan Jones ran 61 yards for a score to make it 14-7.

When asked what the mentality of the Falcons was after the score, Futkos said: "We just thought we had to keep fighting. Our coaches really prepared us well."

Futkos had a long run on the first play from scrimmage after Jones' score but it was negated by a holding penalty. On the next play Futkos hit Kerrell Johnson with a 72-yard TD pass to make it 21-7. By halftime the Falcons led 31-7 and they added 21 third-quarter points to close out the scoring.

Fitch's defense held Boardman to 18 total yards in the second half. Defensive end and Ohio State recruit Billy Price (6-4, 312, Sr.) anchors the defense. The rest is a combination of very disciplined athletes who almost always seem to be on the same page.

"It's kind of a no-name defense and they all do a great job," Annarella said. "Coach (Wally) Hurdley always gets them prepared. They were ready to play tonight, no question. That's a credit to our kids and our coaching staff."

Fitch amassed 581 total yards and held the Spartans to 180. Johnson caught three passes for 91 yards and Keith Lawrence had three catches for 50 yards and a score. Tyler Hewlett added 68 rushing yards and a touchdown on 10 carries. Jones ran 10 times for 85 yards for Boardman.