By Bob Stoll
For Brooklyn Daily Eagle
FALCONS 25 BUCS 14
Two late scores by the Falcons put away an otherwise closely played game as they went on to defeat the Bucs, 25-14, in Major Division action.
The Falcons were holding on to a narrow 11-8 lead when the Bucs drove nearly the length of the field late in the third quarter. Thomas McGovern and Anthoy Oliva lugged the ball to the Falcons’ 5-yard line, but the Falcons’ defense stiffened and stopped the drive at the 1 on fourth-and-goal. Noah Solano came up with two key tackles to prevent the touchdown.
Three minutes after the goal-line stand, the Falcons scored through the air as Michael Bruno lofted a 21-yard pass to Solano, who had gotten behind all the defenders to score. Nicholas D’Egidio added the 2-point conversion to make it a 19-8 lead. The Bucs went three-and-out on their next possession, opening the door for the rejuvenated Falcons, who drove down the field after the punt.
Alexander Freda sneaked his way into pay dirt from the 1-yard line to score and open up a commanding 25-8 lead. The Bucs did manage a late score as J.P. Moran raced 14 yards, tiptoeing down the sideline for the score with only 1:04 left in the game to narrow the deficit to 25-14. But the Falcons were able to control the ball and take the remaining time off the clock.
The Falcons had opened up the scoring in the game when Melvin Collins took off on an end-around and exploded for a 37-yard touchdown on just the third play of the game. D’Egidio kicked the 2-point conversion to make it an 8-0 lead. The Bucs did come back to tie the score as A.J. Solecki capped off a long drive by plunging in from the 1-yard line.
The ensuing kickoff was mishandled, forcing the Falcons to cover the ball at their own 1-yard line. On first down, the middle of the Bucs’ line tackled the quarterback in the end zone for a safety. Justin Garthaffner, Brian Santanelli and Enrique Ortiz combined on the stop. But the Bucs could not take advantage on their next possession and went four-and-out.
The Falcons drove to the Bucs’ 10 and, when the drive stalled, D’Egidio split the uprights with a 27-yard field goal for the 11-8 halftime lead.