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RFA once again hurt by mistakes

"I thought we held them, but those mistakes that we made came back and hurt us, and you can’t do that. Not against a team like that," Swavely added.

RFA was penalized seven times for 50 yards, botched numerous snaps on punts, fumbled four times — lost two — were picked off once and converted only 7-of-16 on third down.

CBA on the other hand, had only one turnover, and needed only 32 total plays for 183 yards of offense to put up 41 points. In the first half alone, they ran only 13 plays for 88 yards, but scored 34 points.

For the game, the Romans completely dominated the clock as they had the ball for 30 minutes, 55 seconds to CBA’s 17:05.

The Black Knights ran 66 total plays for 261 yards on offense — 180 coming on the ground.

The night didn’t star off particularly well for the Black Knights.

They fumbled on their first hand off as CBA linebacker Dametrius Brown recovered on the 9.

Four plays later, MacPherson rolled to his right and hit Radziewicz in the middle of the end zone for a 16-yard TD strike to post the hosts up, 6-0.

On the Romans’ ensuing possession, RFA again had the misfortune of a bobbled handoff and fumbled on their own 38, and 6-foot-1, 240-pound defensive lineman Alexander Rost scooped it up and took it in for the score for the Brothers’ second touchdown in less than two minutes of play.

It was then the Black Knights’ turn to get even on the turnover department when sophomore defensive back Matt Adamik intercepted a MacPherson pass and put the Knights on the 42.

Seven plays later — mostly to Stapleton — and RFA was on the scoreboard after a Stapleton 1-yard TD burst.

Rome quickly tried an onside kick, but the ball didn’t roll in their favor as CBA took over at the Black Knights’ 42, and two plays into their drive MacPherson hit Radziewicz with a short screen pass, and the speedster went up the middle untouched for 44 yards and the score, putting the hosts up, 18-7.

But the resilient Knights wouldn’t go away just yet.

The Romans put together an 18 play, 69 yard drive that lasted 8:49, capped by a Tennant 1-yard TD on a QB sneak, just like that the team was back with a 18-13 margin.

Just as luck would have it, when the Black Knights charged back, the Brothers had a response.

On the ensuing kickoff, Vavonese broke off for a 95-yard return for the score, and tailback Joey Pascarella added an 8-yard TD scamper on their next possession before the end of the first half.

Pascarella then scored on a 14-yard TD burst up the gut at the start of the third quarter, and just like that RFA trailed, 41-13.

Pascarella finished with 33 yards and the two scores, and teammate Mike Vavonese tallied 34 yards off six carries behind a stout offensive line anchored by Syracuse University recruit 6-foot-4, 268-pound tackle Ben Barrett.

Stapleton added a 1-yard TD run in the fourth quarter for his second rushing score of the game and finished with 12 rushing TDs and 1,137 yards on the ground during the regular season.

"We came out fired up. We had nothing to lose, and we tried to play with some pride here tonight. We got down early, but we never stopped fighting out there," Stapleton said.

"The stuff that has been hurting us all season came back to bite us again here tonight," he added. "It was good getting the younger guys in there now to help them get better for the future. I think it’s great, there is a lot of young talent here, and they have a bright future," Stapleton said.

Tennant then broke for the end zone on a 14 yard run and fumbled on the 1, and the ball trickled into the end zone and Brett McKinney landed on it for his second TD of the season as time expired off the clock.

On defense, RFA sophomore linebacker Anthony Capron led the team with 12 tackles, while senior Michael Grider had five, sophomore Alex Todd, junior Rocky Capponi, and junior McKinney finished with four. Adamik finished with three tackles, and Stapleton had two.

Capron, making his first start at varsity after playing for the junior varsity team all season, broke out with the double-digit tackles against a speedy stable of CBA veteran running backs.

Swavely was more than pleased to see how his 5-foot-9, 170-pound sophomore linebacker would do in his first start.

"Here’s a kid who was playing at junior varsity last week, and he goes out there and has a monster game for us," said Swavely. A few other sophomores did a great job for us too. We have a lot of young guys that are starting to put it together and I assure you, the future is promising for us," he added.

"It felt great to be out there. For my first start, I felt really good. I loved it, and it was amazing," said Capron, who was one of seven sophomores to start on the defensive side of the ball.

"CBA ran the ball really good, and they had a lot of good players out there, but with the experience that we are getting at an early age, we’re going to be well prepared for next year, and we’re going to be ready," Capron added.

Junior linebacker Pascarella led the imposing CBA defense with 12 total tackles, while defensive back Bobby Anderson had six, and linebacker Dametrius Brown caused havoc for the Black Knights in the backfield by shooting the gap on several blitzes. He also finished with five tackles.

"We were fortunate that we got up early. We are very good defensively, and I thought we really played fast tonight," said CBA coach Joe Casamento.

"This Rome team is well coached, and they handled us up front at times and got their offense going, but I thought we had the whole package working for us tonight. Rome played as physical a game that we have played all season and for us to pull away from them was good, and sealed the game for us," added Casamento.

RomeSentinel.com

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