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The good news is that the Cuyahoga Falls High School football team scored more points in its third game of the 2016 season against Barberton.
Unfortunately, the Magics scored more, posting a 43-21 win over the Black Tigers Sept. 8 at Clifford Stadium.
The 21 points represents the most that Falls has scored so far during the young campaign.
"What's hurt us is that we've struggled in the first few games offensively," said Falls head coach Sean Flaherty. "We need to come out and put some points up early and get our offense going."
The first half against Barberton was especially rough, as the Magics scored two touchdowns in both the first and second quarters. As a result, the Black Tigers found themselves in a 28-0 hole at intermission.
Falls tallied the only points in the third period in the form of a touchdown, as Tyler Gibson caught a nine-yard scoring pass from quarterback Nate Vassalotti. Greg McDevitt added the extra point.
Barberton score again early in the fourth frame to increase its lead to 35-7.
Vassalotti threw another touchdown pass later in the period, this one covering 37 yards to Nick Siegferth. McDevitt booted another PAT, drawing the Black Tigers to within 35-14.
However, the Magics scored again, this time adding a two-point conversion pass onto the end of their touchdown.
Cuyahoga Falls fought to the end, though, as Vassalotti found Siegferth again. This time, it was a 21-yard touchdown throw. McDevitt provided his third conversion kick to account for the final margin.
According to Flaherty, Barberton provided numerous challenges to the Black Tigers defensively. "They have a great mix of size and skill at the linebacker position," he said. "They were pretty physical up front. They played us tough all the way around."
The Falls defense, which gave up just one touchdown in the first two games, also received a tough test against the Magics.
"We gave up a couple of big plays early on, but our offense also turned the ball over," said Flaherty. "That put our defense in a bad position a couple of times. Our defense still hung tough, though."
Vassalotti completed 9-of-20 pass attempts for 109 yards and three touchdowns. He was also intercepted once.
Gibson was the Black Tigers' leading receiver with four catches for 25 yards. In addition, Siegferth nabbed three passes for 65 yards, and Jace Barrett recorded two receptions for nine yards. Both James Cross and Pat Horrigan caught one ball for five yards.
Falls was set to play its first game in the National Conference of the Suburban League Sept. 16 when it hosted Brecksville-Broadview Heights. Result of the game were not available at press time.
"They're a completely spread out team," said Flaherty. "They have four and five wide receiver sets on every play and they have a lot of skill at those positions. It's going to be a challenge for our defense, especially in the secondary."
Falls will play its first road game of the season Sept. 23 at Wadsworth. Kickoff is at 7 p.m.