Falcon senior running back Drake Antoon had both of the lines to thank for his big game in a 40-15 Class 3A Southern League win Friday on the Falcons’ home turf.
The offensive line consistently opened up interior holes with plenty of space for the shifty 5-foot-7, 155-pounder to slip through, as he amassed 165 yards on 18 carries with four touchdowns.
“Our offensive line was stellar tonight,” Antoon said. “Like I said, they were perfect. I couldn’t ask for a better line.”
The defensive line forced and recovered a pair of Marauder fumbles deep in Mitchell (1-6, 1-1) territory, which Antoon converted for two of his touchdowns.
“Our defense has been playing lights out most of the season,” first-year Falcon coach Chris Waca said. “We just finally needed to get some scores on the board, and we did tonight.”
The teams exchanged stops to open the game before Falcon (2-5, 1-1) quarterback Arron Montelongo snuck in from inches out to open the scoring.
After a short touchdown at the end of the first quarter and a 22-yard sprint around the left edge after the first Marauder fumble, Antoon’s first two touchdowns staked the hosts to 19-0 lead early in the second quarter.
“He’s very elusive, very quick,” Waca said. “He finds seams, and he can take them. We’ve been trying to work to get the ball to the edge with his speed, because we’ve really struggled this year. We felt tonight we took another step.”
Mitchell got a big reception and a subsequent first-down run from Ben Hersam before Jaylin Babers shook off a couple of Falcon tacklers on a 16-yard touchdown run to get the visitors on the board.
Two more second-quarter rushing scores from Antoon – including a 5-yard trot after Mitchell’s second fumble was recovered by Falcon defensive end Michael Bird – staked the Falcons to a 33-7 advantage at the half.
A Falcon fumble led to Mitchell’s second score as quarterback Thane Duzenack watched Samuel Thomas, who had an earlier interception, haul in a 9-yard touchdown pass before Babers converted the extra point, making it 33-15 after three quarters.
After establishing the run, Falcon put the game away through the air as Montelongo hit Colton Minnich in the back corner of the end zone to give the hosts a 25-point lead with just over 10 minutes to play.
By time Mitchell’s third lost fumble gave the Falcons the ball with 3:06 to play, Antoon was watching from the sideline with the team’s first league win secured and quickly set his sights to the Falcons’ three remaining games.
As a Falcon assistant coach reminded the team in the post-game meeting, three more wins would mean a .500 season, something the Falcons senior class hasn’t experienced, going 10-20 over the past three seasons.
“We’ve got three more weeks. Let’s come out strong,” Antoon said.
“We need wins.”