WARREN OH- On October 23rd, 2020 The Austintown Fitch Falcons were in the midst of a 7-0 season. After defeating Twinsburg in the first round, they were set for a 2nd round matchup with The Warren G Harding Raiders.
A matchup that The Falcons and the Austintown community know all too well. Years of back and forth between the two programs. The Falcons were able to beat The Raiders in the regular season last year.
However, it was the 2nd meeting in the 2nd round of the playoffs that is burned into the memory of Austintown a little deeper. The Raiders were able to come into Greenwood Chevrolet Stadium and upset The Falcons 24-10 back in 2020.
After almost a year to the day, Fitch had their redemption shot. As they traveled to Mollenkopf Stadium for their week 10 matchup with Warren G Harding.
The Falcons and their defense came up huge to start the first quarter. Forcing a fumble and an interception from Davion Pritchard off the very talented Dalys Jett of The Raiders.
Fitch grabbed a 10-0 lead at the end of the first, and it looked to be all Falcons in this matchup. But the more things change, the more they stay the same. As those resilient Raiders battled back, forcing a fumble and interception of their own off Devin Sherwood. As Warren grabbed the lead going into halftime 21-13.
The Falcons battled back in the second half, as DJ Williams punched in a touchdown and a pass from Sherwood to Jaden Eley for two points was good! Tying the game up 21-21.
Ryan Powell ran one in for The Raiders on the other end, reclaiming their lead at 27-21, but a key blocked kick by Fitch’s Davion Pritchard kept the deficit at six.
But Devin Sherwood proved once again, that he is a quarterback of many talents. Using his legs to score for Fitch. Another made PAT for the very consistent Josiah Berni gave Austintown the lead 28-27.
Then, as Coach T.J. Parker has shown time and time again, he is unafraid to take chances. An perfectly executed onside kick by Berni again allowed Fitch to recover in Raider territory.
A 29 yard touchdown pass to Tyler Evans, gave Fitch a 35-27 lead. Dalys Jett responded with a 20 yard seed to Tyriq Ivory on the other end. The score was 35-33 Fitch, with Warren Harding attempting a 2-point conversion. One, they were unable to convert, thanks again to a strong defensive stand by Fitch.
With Austintown getting the ball back with 4:28 left in the game. They need one more sustained drive to put this Raiders squad away and complete their redemption.
It was a big dog winner and a sophomore stud in DJ Williams that said ballgame. With a 24 yard touchdown run to clinch the game 42-33.
As The Falcon Faithful know they will host a playoff game in Region 5. Question is, will it be a rematch with The Raiders?
Stats for the game
Devin Sherwood 15/23, 215 Yards, 2 Touchdowns, 1 Interception.
Dalys Jett 10/20, 133 Yards, 2 Touchdowns, 2 Interceptions.
DJ Williams 17 Carries, 84 Yards, 2 Touchdowns.
Devin Sherwood 14 Carries, 48 Yards, 1 Touchdown.
Ryan Powell 11 Carries, 94 Yards, 1 Touchdown.
Dalys Jett 14 Carries, 36 Yards, 2 Touchdowns.
Tyler Evans 6 Receptions, 97 Yards, 1 Touchdown.
Cam Smith 1 Reception, 43 Yards, 1 Touchdown.
Delmar McMillan 2 Receptions, 37 Yards, 1 Touchdown.
Tyriq Ivory 2 Receptions, 32 Yards, 1 Touchdown.
Cam Smith 3 Tackles, 1 Fumble Recovery.
Davion Prichard 5 Tackles, 2 Interceptions, 1 Blocked Extra Point
Brian Robinson 9 Tackles, 1 Tackle For Loss.
Devin Boss 5 Tackles, 1 Interception
Kincaid Tyson 8 Tackles, 1 Sack, 1 Forced Fumble.
Dovantae McElroy 9 Tackles, 1.5 Tackles For Loss, 1 Fumble Recovery.
*Contributed By YSN’s Ty Bartell