Falcons roll over Catty, get back to .500
The relationship between a quarterback and his top wide receiver is special, unlike any other on the football field.
In terms of that combination, the Falcons may have one of the most feared quarterback-receiver tandems in the Colonial League. And during last Friday night's game against Catasauqua, that duo shined once again under the lights at Salisbury High School on Homecoming Night.
Tevon Weber threw two more touchdown passes to Mason Donaldson in Friday's 49-14 romp over the Rough Riders (3-5) that evened the Falcons' record at 4-4 with two games to go. Through eight games, Weber and Donaldson have hooked up for seven touchdowns.
Both players may be gaining recognition as the weeks progress, but it wasn't long ago that both were a bit of an unknown in the conference. For Donaldson in particular, he had a total of just nine receptions last season. He has already shattered that mark.
"We've been playing together for seven years," said Donaldson, who caught five balls for 65 yards last Friday. "We have a chemistry built together, and we kind of know what each other wants. He knows what I'm going to run, and I know what he's going to throw."
The Falcons took a 16-10 lead into halftime, but it was the final 24 minutes of play that broke the game wide open. And that stretch of 33 second-half points started with the defense, which forced the Rough Riders into turnovers on their first three drives of the second half.
After failing to capitalize on a Rough Rider interception on the opening drive, the Falcons added 14 points off interceptions on the next two drives. Following Shane Wittman's first of two interceptions, Weber hit Donaldson on a three-yard touchdown strike to make it a 22-10 game.
"It was a designed run play," Donaldson said. "Me and Tevon saw that the corner was deep. He was straight up on me, so I checked for a whip route. I was starting to run my whip, and he [Weber] just read that the corner was bailing. He threw it right away."
Not even a minute after the Weber-to-Donaldson connection, Wittman picked off Cristian Burker pass and returned it 17 yards untouched the other way for a touchdown. That put the Falcons up 28-10 with 3:59 to play in the third following a failed two-point conversion.
"It was a tipped ball," Wittman said. "I just read it right like we do at practice. I came under it and ran."
Devin Irwin added a rushing score in the final seconds of the third quarter to make it a 35-10 game. Teddy Denver and Nico Scarcia also scored for the Falcons in the fourth.
After rushing for 104 yards in the first half, the Falcons' ground game in the final two quarters carried the offense to scoring drives on four of five possessions. Alex Kubinec ran for 108 of the Falcons' 342 yards. Nick Sikora totaled 84 on the ground, and Teddy Denver rushed for 65 and a score.
"It helps the passing game a lot because once we start running it, they start to overflow," Wittman said. "They realize that it's going to be there every time, and we just attack over the top then."
The Rough Riders got on the scoreboard first with a 23-yard field goal on their first drive, but Salisbury's Eric Frankenfield got the Falcons to within 3-2 after sacking Catasauqua quarterback Brandon Keks in the end zone for a safety.
The Falcons took the lead at 9-3 following Weber's first touchdown to Donaldson early in the second quarter, but Jacob Kober rushed for 55 yards on a Rough Rider fake punt to regain the lead at 10-9 with 3:03 to play in the half. Wittman scored from nine yards out with 1:04 left in the half to put the Falcons ahead for good.
Donaldson's kicking game has also been a key to the Falcons' success, particularly on special teams. On Friday, he forced the Rough Riders to start at their own 20-yard line with five touchbacks.
That brought his total to eight on the season. Donaldson has averaged close to 40 yards per punt through eight games, too, including a 41.5 average against Catasauqua.