The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio


October 19, 2013

Falcons take to the air

Hitchcock’s two TD passes, stout D leads Jefferson past Champion

CHAMPION — It felt like a complete horror show for the Jefferson Falcons. Negative 11 yards of total offense. One first down. Just more than eight minutes of total offensive possession.

Though despite all that ugliness, they trailed just 2-0 at halftime.

Jefferson coach Jimmy Henson’s message was simple and clear to his squad: “Let’s play Falcon football.”

In the end, the Falcons played enough Falcon footbal to escape with a 14-10 win over the Champion Golden Flashes in All-American Conference play.

If there was a common theme throughout the first half, it was the play of both defensive lines as Jefferson couldn’t find a hole to continue drives while on the other side, Champion managed to gain 97 yards on the ground, only to see penalties derail drives or they would stall, thanks in large part to the Falcons stacking the box daring the Golden Flashes to pass.

“We had a couple of penalties that stopped drives,” Champion coach Terry Howell said. “I think we did a lot of things well offensively.”

Henson felt, despite the line play from Champion, his team could use their skill set and speed to put them in favorable positions.

“They have some good football players, especially up front,” Henson said. “The last two years, Brennan Grace, we’ve had trouble with him.

“He’s just gotten after us. We’ve had trouble containing him. Matt Gorrell

gave us problems. I thought we could outflank Jacob Rasey, but he was fast. He was getting there and making tackles.”

After forcing a Champion punt, the Falcons committed a fumble on a snap to Lucas Hitchcock at their own 15 that Hitchcock scrambled to recover, but was corralled by Grace and Rasey in the end zone to make it 2-0 in favor of the Golden Flashes with 4:07 left in the first half.

Things quickly turned around for the Falcons when Hitchcock found Derek Parker on a tunnel screen.  Parker turned it quickly down the Champion sideline for a 54-yard touchdown pass to give Jefferson the lead at 7-2 lead, less than two minutes into the third quarter.

“We’ve been running that for years,” Henson said. “We set it up by running that jet screen the previous play. We got it to our fastest kid. When we get it to him, he can make some things happen.”

Heading into the final quarter with the score still 7-2, it seemed a stalemate was reached as drives continued to stall on both ends and a Champion fumble on its third possession of the second half set up the Falcons at their own 44-yard line with  a little more than seven minutes left in the game.

Facing a fourth-and-28 from their own 26, the Falcons were set to punt and have their defense try to win it for them, but instead, Joey Batcho barrelled in, blocked the punt and returned it 12 yards to give the Flashes the lead again at 10-7 with 6:04 left.

Despite one 4-play drive that resulted in their only points, the Falcons again found a way, with Hitchcock completing passes of 7, 17, and then 28 to Cole Erdel for the score to once again put the Falcons up, this time 14-10 with a little more than four minutes left.

“I told them we were going to come and throw it a little bit,” Henson said. “We had to get them out of the box. I think that made the difference — the passes we were able to complete.”

There was no trifecta of a big play for the Falcons as Rasey’s pass on third-and-23 was intercepted by Cody Leonardson as the Falcons escaped with the victory. Champion attempted only two passes on the night, with both being intercepted, the aforementioned theft by Leonardson for 9 yards on the return and another by Joe Jackson, which he returned 20 yards.

“Unfortunately, that happens,” Howell said. “The game could have gone either way.”

Fortune is a freelance writer from McDonald.

Text Only
  • Jefferson flying high

    Jefferson boys track coach T.J. Furman didn’t know what to expect from his young team coming into the 2014 season.

    April 20, 2014

  • Scholastic Statistics:

    Jefferson 130, Pymatuning Valley 88, Springfield 75, Southeast 73.50, LaBrae 67, Liberty 56.50, Conneaut 44, Maplewood 39, Chalker 32, Windham 18
    at LaBrae

    April 20, 2014

  • Advantage, Diemer

    Every pitcher wants to get the advantage against every batter she faces. Edgewood lefty Taylor Diemer gave herself that edge and it proved to be key as the Warriors topped Madison, 1-0, Friday at Edgewood.

    April 19, 2014

  • Scholastic Statistics:

    Edgewood 1, Madison 0
    at Edgewood

    April 19, 2014

  • Scholastic Schedule:


    Brookfield at Conneaut (1)
    Grand Valley at Berkshire (10)
    Chardon at Madison (DH, 11)
    Edgewood at Fairport (11)
    West Geauga at Riverside (11)

    April 19, 2014

  • Spartans knock around Dragons

    After being cooped up in gymnasiums for the better part of the season so far, the Conneaut and Lakeside softball teams were just happy to get onto a diamond. Playing for the first time in nearly a week, the Spartans toppled the Dragons, 11-2, Thursday afternoon at Lakeside.

    April 18, 2014

  • PV can’t get past Mathews

    Thursday afternoon at Pymatuning Valley, the visiting Mathews Mustangs were able to do what every coach hopes for — execute. They played a clean game from start to finish in every facet of the game, and that carried the Mustangs to an 8-2 Northeastern Athletic Conference victory.

    April 18, 2014

  • Scholastic Statistics:

    Matthews 8, PV 2
    at PV

    April 18, 2014

  • Scholastic Schedule:


    Geneva at Edgewood (11)
    Niles McKinley at Edgewood (5)
    Conneaut at Lakeside (4:30)
    Madison at Euclid (4:30)
    Madison at Edgewood (4:30)
    Geneva at Mentor (10, DH)
    Conneaut at Madison (4)

    April 18, 2014

  • Justin Butler Justin time

    It was just four short years ago that Justin Butler was spending his fall on a soccer field.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

Sports Week in Review April 14 to 19
Sports Week in Review April 7-12
Spring Sports Practice in Ashtabula County
2014 AP BB Tourney Top 25
2014 AP BB Tourney Scoreboard
2014 AP BB Tourney News
2014 AP BB Tourney Photos
Star Beacon-Ed Batanian Senior Classic
Girls Regional Basketball Action
Week of Champions
Sports Week in Review February 21, 22
Grand Valley at Edgewood Boys Basketball
Sports Week in Review Feb. 3 to 8
Sports Week in Review January 30 to Feb. 1
Sports Week in Review January 13-18
Sports Video Archive
House Ads
AP Video