FOOTBALL: Firelands fends off Keystone, heads to playoffs


By Kelsey Leyva - kleyva@civitasmedia.com



<p style="text-align: right;">Photos by Kelsey Leyva | Civitas Media <p style="text-align: left;">Falcons defensive back Nicholas Denney awaits Keystone’s snap Friday night at Firelands’ last home game of the regular season.

Photos by Kelsey Leyva | Civitas Media

Falcons defensive back Nicholas Denney awaits Keystone’s snap Friday night at Firelands’ last home game of the regular season.


A tough Firelands defense prevents Keystone from scoring in the second half.


A senior mellophone player performs “All Star” by Smash Mouth during the half time performance.


Firelands Falcons marching band seniors were showcased during the band’s halftime show. Three senior trumpet players march to the front of the field.


Falcons cheerleaders Rylee Wheaton, Alex Willis, Emma Mowry, and Carol Lynn Stevens pose for a picture during the second half of Friday night’s game.


The marching band seniors pose for a picture after the halftime show.


“We want more,” is what the Firelands Falcons football team chanted after beating Keystone in the last game of the regular season.

“It was a great high school football game,” said head coach Mike Passerrello. “Both sides just completely went at it.”

The win helped secure the Falcons’ seat in the playoffs for the second time in five years. West Branch and Youngstown Mooney lost their games to keep Firelands in the top eight.

The team is expected to travel Saturday to Peninsula to take on Woodridge.

Friday’s 29-25 win didn’t come without making adjustments to Keystone’s passing game and keeping Austin Conrad contained in the second half.

The Wildcats offense took off in the second quarter, where the team scored all its 25 points.

Keystone quarterback Bobby Weber started the scoring with a 15-yard touchdown to Chris Sittinger. A failed extra point attempt left the Wildcats trailing by one at 7-6.

Firelands fought back and quarterback Brad Thrasher ran it in for a touchdown.

Keystone’s Conrad and Trey Minnich evened the score with a 12-yard touchdown run and successful two-point conversion.

The two teams matched each other in scoring until seconds before halftime, when a fumbled punt return and turnover by the Falcons put Keystone in field goal range. With just two seconds left on the clock, Keystone’s Spencer Constable kicked it 33 yards for an additional three points, giving the Wildcats a 25-22 lead at the half.

The Falcons defense was fired up coming out of the locker room and forced a four-and-out.

The offense kept the momentum going with 26-yard touchdown run by Nick Denney with 9:57 left in the fourth quarter.

The Falcons defense managed to keep Keystone scoreless and come up with two interceptions.

Thrasher stole the ball first and Vic Bauer came up with the second interception with only 30 seconds left in the game, sealing the Falcons victory.

“Overall it was a great defensive effort,” Passerrello said. “If I didn’t have confidence in them then we wouldn’t have punted the ball at the end for our defense to win it.”

Firelands ends the season with a 4-1 conference record and an 8-2 record overall.

Passerrello said he’s happy to go to week 11: “It’s just another special season and another special moment,” he said. “I’m just happy for the kids and the community that they’re going to experience that again.”

Kelsey Leyva can be reached at 440-647-3171 or @TWE_KelseyLeyva on Twitter.

Photos by Kelsey Leyva | Civitas Media

Falcons defensive back Nicholas Denney awaits Keystone’s snap Friday night at Firelands’ last home game of the regular season.

http://aimmedianetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/43/2015/10/web1_Falcons6.jpg

Photos by Kelsey Leyva | Civitas Media

Falcons defensive back Nicholas Denney awaits Keystone’s snap Friday night at Firelands’ last home game of the regular season.

A tough Firelands defense prevents Keystone from scoring in the second half.
http://aimmedianetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/43/2015/10/web1_Falcons5.jpgA tough Firelands defense prevents Keystone from scoring in the second half.

A senior mellophone player performs “All Star” by Smash Mouth during the half time performance.
http://aimmedianetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/43/2015/10/web1_Falcons2.jpgA senior mellophone player performs “All Star” by Smash Mouth during the half time performance.

Firelands Falcons marching band seniors were showcased during the band’s halftime show. Three senior trumpet players march to the front of the field.
http://aimmedianetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/43/2015/10/web1_Falcons1.jpgFirelands Falcons marching band seniors were showcased during the band’s halftime show. Three senior trumpet players march to the front of the field.

Falcons cheerleaders Rylee Wheaton, Alex Willis, Emma Mowry, and Carol Lynn Stevens pose for a picture during the second half of Friday night’s game.
http://aimmedianetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/43/2015/10/web1_Falcons3.jpgFalcons cheerleaders Rylee Wheaton, Alex Willis, Emma Mowry, and Carol Lynn Stevens pose for a picture during the second half of Friday night’s game.

The marching band seniors pose for a picture after the halftime show.
http://aimmedianetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/43/2015/10/web1_Falcons4.jpgThe marching band seniors pose for a picture after the halftime show.

By Kelsey Leyva

kleyva@civitasmedia.com

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