Sunday, September 30, 2012

You're welcome, Austintown-Fitch

When putting together our annual region-by-region playoff outlook for the high school football preview, there is one team far outside of The News-Herald coverage area that always seems to be a conundrum for me to include. At this point, it's almost become a running joke of sorts.

There have been years I've seen what Austintown-Fitch has on paper in August and include them among the top teams in Division I, Region 1.

Then there's the years in which Fitch isn't included at all, because for whatever reason on paper there seems to be a case not to have them among the field.

Like clockwork, it always seems to work the same way every time this scenario plays out.

If they are included in the N-H season preview, forget about Week 11.

If they're not included in the N-H season preview, get ready for a memorable year 90 minutes down the road in Youngstown.

This year, there was no Fitch among Region 1 contenders, and they've officially made my projection look foolish. The Falcons are 6-0, fourth in Region 1 and have yielded 21 points the last four weeks.

Billy Price is a beast on the line (and a fantastic shot putter and discus thrower during track and field season, by the way), but it seemed like Fitch would have an issue offensively after graduating the prolific Demitrious Davis at quarterback.

Five games of 35 points or more later, that concern has officially been erased.

A lot of times, I can get a good feel for who will be in the Week 11 chase - News-Herald coverage area or not - despite having no games to rely upon.

But with Fitch, it's probably a favor to the good folks of that community if they keep not getting mentioned in The News-Herald, because that means big things are ahead on Falcon Drive.

- Chris Lillstrung  | @CLillstrungNH


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