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Colchester - The painfully long wait finally ended on a muddy football field on a cold November night.
Fitch clinched its first playoff berth since 2005 with a 55-7 victory over host Bacon Academy.
"It feels amazing having our first playoff berth in awhile," junior Lester Smith said.
As far back as last season, coach Mike Emery believed the Falcons were on the verge of a breaking the drought. He watched them play a competitive brand of football during a 5-5 season.
This fall, they completed their journey.
"I felt like we were ready to take that final step because we were in every game last year," Emery said. "The next step after being in every game is to win them.
"So it's not a shocker to me that we're where we are."
The Falcons (8-1) accomplished the feat with a dominating performance.
Quarterback Devante Anderson threw for two touchdowns and ran for one while backfield teammates Saffwan Davis (167 yards, 1 TD) and Robert Johnston (135 yards, 1 TD) both ran wild.
On defense, junior Jordan Green recovered a fumble in the end zone for the game's first touchdown and Smith, one of the fiery defensive leaders, recorded a couple of sacks and several bone-jarring tackles.
A sloppy start slowed the Falcons, who lost two fumbles in the first quarter. They also took time to adjust to Bacon's no-huddle, passing attack. Quarterback Nate Kozlowski completed his first seven passes on the opening drive that stalled at the Fitch 30-yard line.
If not for a bad snap sailing well over the head of Kozlowski, the first quarter would have been scoreless. Green chased down the loose ball in the end zone for a Fitch touchdown.
A pep talk before the second quarter helped ignite the Falcons, who built a 28-0 lead by halftime.
"We had people pouting; we can't have that," Smith said. "We gave a little speech really quick and everybody picked their heads up. Everybody came out a little bit more riled and more pumped up."
The Falcons scored on three of four second-quarter possessions. Starting on their own 2-yard-line, they needed just two plays to get into the end zone.
Johnston deked a defender just past the line of scrimmage and bolted 95 yards for a score.
Davis authored the next big running play, dashing through traffic into the clear for a 38-yard touchdown. Anderson's sneak from two yards out increased the lead to 28-0.
On the first two drives of the second half, Anderson showed off his accurate arm, connecting on touchdown passes to senior Christian Charron (60 yards) and junior John Moscol (50 yards) for a 42-0 advantage.
Almost lost in the explosive offensive display was the play of Fitch's aggressive, hard-hitting defense. The Falcons harassed Kozlowski ,who lost his rhythm after the first drive. The Bobcats fell to 2-7.
"We were sloppy in the beginning, offensively," Emery said. "We're lucky we have a real solid group defensively that could hold up."
Fitch completes its regular season on Thanksgiving day, hosting Ledyard.