So far, the Cuyahoga Falls High School football team has only allowed one touchdown defensively during the 2016 season.
After posting a shutout win in their season opener, the Black Tigers hosted non-conference opponent Akron Garfield on Friday, Sept. 2. In another defensive battle, Cuyahoga Falls fell to defeat by the score of 13-8.
"Our defense played tough the whole night for the second week in a row," said Falls head coach Sean Flaherty, "but we couldn't seem to get on track offensively. Unfortunately, we weren't able to pull it out at the end. The defense has been a great part of our team so far."
Garfield scored the only points in the first half on a 26-yard touchdown pass from Greg Levy to Eliott Gales with 1:37 left in the second quarter. As a result, the Rams held a 7-0 edge at intermission.
Cuyahoga Falls got on the scoreboard in the third period when sophomore Scott Smith recorded a safety for the Black Tigers. Falls added a touchdown later in the quarter when senior quarterback Nate Vassalotti reached the end zone from one yard away.
The Black Tigers went for two points, but the conversion pass failed. As a result, Falls led by a tenuous 8-7 margin with 3:16 remaining in the third quarter.
The very next play would prove to be pivotal in the contest. That's because Garfield returned the ensuing kickoff 85 yards for a touchdown. Even though the conversion kick was no good, the Rams were on top 13-8.
Neither team was able to score in the fourth quarter, so Garfield's lead stood at the final gun. With the loss, Falls' record fell to 1-1.
"The first two weeks, we've struggled in the first half on offense," said Flaherty. "We've seemed to find a few things that have worked for us in the second half, though. We have new guys playing in key spots, and they're feeling their way around right now. Once they get a couple of games under their belt, we'll get it going."
Sophomore running back Jordan Bosley led the rushing attack for Cuyahoga Falls, amassing 65 yards on 18 carries. In the passing department, Vassalotti completed 10-of-19 attempts for 84 yards and an interception. He was also sacked once.
Senior wide receiver Nick Siegferth caught five of Vassalotti's completions for a total of 51 yards. In addition, senior wide receiver Jace Barrett and sophomore fullback James Cross both snagged two receptions for 14 yards and junior wide receiver Tyler Gibson caught one pass covering five yards.
Through two games of the season, Flaherty singled out a few players for exemplary performance. They included sophomore fullback/outside linebacker Tyler Hitchings, senior tight end/defensive end Sam Forbes, and senior nose tackle Dakota Dobbins.
Cuyahoga Falls is part of the National Conference of the Suburban League. On Sept. 9, the Black Tigers were set to battle Barberton, but results were not available at press time. The Magics are members of the American Conference of the Suburban League.
"They have good size up front and good skill at the receiver and defensive back positions," said Flaherty of the Magics. "It will be another tough game, just like the last two. We're going to hang our hat on defense to keep us in the game, and we need to put some points on the board to get the job done."
Falls opens play in the National Conference Sept. 16 when it hosts Brecksville-Broadview Heights at 7 p.m. at Clifford Stadium.