There's improvement ... and then there's the Fitch football team
Groton — It took the Fitch football team eight days to figure out how to score five more touchdowns in Saturday’s 49-20 win over Xavier than it scored in last weekend’s season debut.
It also begs the question “how?”
“Last week, the offense, we were piecing things together,” Fitch junior James Deichler said about a 31-14 loss at Wilton on Sept. 13. “We have a young quarterback and a young line. It was the first varsity start for a lot of guys.”
There’s maturation ... and then there’s whatever the Falcons managed to do between games one and two.
“Yeah, I can’t explain it,” Deichler said. “The guys just came in, worked their butts off and got it going.”
Fitch got its triple-option running game in gear vs. Xavier (1-1). The Falcons ran 42 times for 371 yards and seven touchdowns. That would be a sweet 8.8 yards a carry.
Deichler had 15 carries for 132 yards and four touchdowns while senior Lonnie Howard ran three times for 105 yards, 81 of which came on his touchdown run.
Junior Ethan Mojica ran eight times for 82 yards and a touchdown for Fitch and junior quarterback Josh Letellier added 14 carries for 49 yards and a score.
Junior David Dorn had two sacks for Fitch and seniors Cameron Aldinger, Seamus McKenna and Tre Bryant all had fumble recoveries.
There was one glaring issue for Fitch: 19 penalties.
Sophomore Drew Kron completed just 10 of 25 passes for 156 yards and two touchdowns for Xavier.
Xavier scored on its first possession. Kron threw a 10-yard touchdown pass to Marcellus Ruiz to give their team a 7-0 lead with 8:43 left in the first quarter.
Deichler, a fullback, ran for Fitch’s first touchdown on a dive play for 35 yards to tie the game at 7 with 43.6 seconds left in the first quarter.
Deichler scored again on a 2-yard run with 18.3 seconds remaining in the first half to give Fitch a 14-7 halftime lead.
Fitch broke the game open in the second half.
Mojica ran for a 36-yard touchdown on Fitch’s first drive to push its lead to 21-7.
McKenna recovered a Xavier fumble at the Fitch 46 on the former’s next drive. Fitch had a third-and-15 from its own 41 three plays later. Deichler proceeded to run for a 59-yard touchdown as Fitch went ahead 28-7 with 5:23 left in the third quarter.
It took Xavier just three plays to respond. Kareem Grisham caught a 63-yard touchdown pass from Kron as Xavier cut its deficit in half, 28-14, with 4:06 left in the quarter.
Bryant recovered another Xavier fumble at the latter’s 20 with a little over a minute left in the quarter. It set up Diechler’s 13-yard touchdown as Fitch extended its lead to 35-14 with 16.5 seconds left in the third.
Andrel Correa’s 1-yard touchdown run cut Xavier’s deficit to 35-20 with 8:25 left in the game.
Lonnie Howard fumbled an option pitch on Fitch’s next drive, somehow caught it on the bounce while still running and took it for an 81-yard touchdown.
Letellier scored from a yard out with 1:48 remaining for the game’s final points.
“It’s a young team, it’s an inexperienced team, and that showed today,” Fitch coach Mike Ellis said. “But the other thing was that it was a hot day and they fought like crazy and made big plays when they had to.”
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