The Times West Virginian

Fairmont State Sports

September 23, 2012

Falcons’ defensive unit relentless in home opener

FAIRMONT — Record breaking win.

The Fighting Falcons of Fairmont defeated the West Liberty Hilltoppers in a nail-bitter on Saturday, 25-20.

FSU’s quarterback Bobby Vega lit up the passing attempts on the day, tallying 67.

The record prior to Saturday’s game was a mere 58 attempts, but was shattered by nine with Vegas efforts.

“I didn’t even know that I dropped back that many times, but hey, I’m a quarterback, so of course I’m going to love it,” said Vega.

Vega would ignite the offense during the second half, but in the first half of play, the Falcons’ defense was on a mission to beat and batter the Hilltopper offensive squad.

“Our entire defense showed up today,” said Fairmont State free safety Bryan Wilson. “Everybody wanted it; everybody never lost heart even when we were put in tough situations. We were still encouraging each other and being there for each other. We never lost heart and wanted that win. Like coach told us, ‘Play with passion.’ We took that to heart and played our hardest.”

Leading the defensive crew was hometown native Trevor Malnick.

Malnick stepped in front of an errant pass from West Liberty’s quarterback L.D. Crow and took the interception for 37 yards to the Hilltoppers’ 28 yard line.

This interception was Malnick’s first of his college career.

“We knew that we were going to go out and try to pressure the quarterback a lot,” said Malnick. “I just read pass, so I dropped to my spot. He threw it faster than what I thought he was going to, so I just tried to tip it. Then when I looked up, it was there, so I just grabbed it and took off.”

This allowed the rest of the defense to feed off the turnover.

The next possession, West Liberty was pinned deep because of an outstanding punt from FSU’s Chris Kish, who placed the kick on West Liberty’s one yard line.

A band of wild Falcons ignited through the Hilltoppers’ offensive line and dropped West Liberty’s running back Anthony Domico for a safety.

“That safety came from a great punt,” said Malnick. “We just came out and blitzed. We knew they were going to run a dive or do play action, so we blitzed right into their play.”

With a lead over the Hilltoppers, Fairmont’s offense started putting the defense in a huge predicament.

The interceptions started.

Because of three interceptions and a fumble, West Liberty was able to turn a 19-0 deficit into a 20-19 lead.

FSU’s defense realistically gave up three touchdowns, but its should be credited for only one touchdown.

“We just knew what we had to do, and we knew what was expected,” said Malnick. “Coach (Mike) Lopez and our defensive coordinator, coach Shahram Shafii, prepared us this entire week. So we knew if we could come out and pressure the ball, we would get some special plays.”

West Liberty’s Marco Ricchetti stepped in front of a pass from Vega, while returning it for 13 yards to the FSU 5 yard line. Three plays later, the Hilltoppers punched in a score that gave them life.

At half, the score was in favor of FSU, 19-13.

However, another FSU offensive meltdown led to a Hilltopper touchdown.

Fairmont’s Andrew Faraimo weaved his way through West Liberty’s defense before he would be hammered. The hit jarred the ball loose, and Jovontae Johnson swooped the football from the turf and took it to the house, while giving West Liberty a 20-19 lead over FSU.

“We took advantage while causing a couple picks and their rushing game was shut out as well,” said Malnick.

Getting redemption, Fairmont’s Vega was tired of making mental mistakes and decided it was time that he would let his defense have a break.

“We just put in this offense three days ago, and it’s a high-tempo, hurry-up offense,” said Vega. “This type of offense is what I’m used to since my junior college did run that, but in the second half, I did feel a little bit more comfortable. They didn’t show us anything different from the first half from what we’ve watched on film, so I felt more at ease.”

He dropped back and let it rip, while throwing the ball over 50 yards in the air to  Charaun Goodwin that resulted in an 83-yard bomb and giving the Falcons the lead, 25-20.

“It felt amazing,” said Vega. “Before we went on the field to run that play, C.J. (Goodwin) came to me and asked if he trusted me. He said, ‘Yeah,’ then he made that play a few minutes later. I just thought I overthrew him at first. The defensive back made a great play on C.J. and he kept his footwork and made a huge touchdown for us.”

Having the opportunity to shut the game out, it was time for FSU’s defense to end what they began.

With 3:47 left in the game, and one final West Liberty chance to make an attempt of scoring, FSU’s Bryan Wilson dove to his left and intercepted a pass from Crow. This interception sealed the deal for the Falcons, while giving them the first win of the season.

“I have to praise God because the coverage allowed me to be inside and read the quarterback,” Wilson said. “The pressure that our defensive front caused made the quarterback throw the ball quick, and I saw it, so I dove and caught it.”

The entire defensive front caused five sacks for a total loss of 25 yards, two interceptions that tallied for 37 yards, and a total of just 161 yards of total offense.

“It feels great to get our first win,” said Malnick. “I think this win will turn a lot of stuff around and get us clicking. I just think we will be on the rise from here.”

The Falcons are now 1-3 and will play host to Charleston Sept. 29, at noon.

Email Jarrod Harris at jhar­ris@timeswv.com or follow him on Twitter @JarrodHarrisTWV.

1
Text Only
Fairmont State Sports
  • FSU golfer wins MEC Player of the Year

    Fairmont State’s Jess Ferrell shot a two-day score of 136 (-6) to win the MEC Southern and take home Mountain East Player of the Year honors.

    April 9, 2014

  • FSU softball splits with Notre Dame

    Fairmont State rallied in game two to earn the split in its MEC doubleheader against Notre Dame College on Saturday afternoon at Duvall-Rosier Field.
    After five scoreless innings in game two, NDC took a 2-0 lead after a home run by Kelsey Coleman. In the bottom half of the inning, Ericka Aversa hit a sacrifice fly to score Joni Tyree from third.

    April 6, 2014

  • FSU team.MW.jpg Lady Falcons have high expectations for next season

    Despite having to replace a trio of talented starters, including All-America point guard Kaitlin Snyder, from a team that finished 23-10, won the final West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Tournament championship and made an appearance in the NCAA Division II National Tournament, Fairmont State University’s 2013-14 Lady Falcons came close to heading back to the so-called “Big Dance” this year.

    March 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Calhoun bench.jpg Future bright for FSU after challenging season

    If anything, the 2013-14 season served as an incredible learning tool for Fairmont State University’s men’s basketball team.

    March 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • fsu team - TS.jpg FSU men, women miss NCAA Tournament

    For a season that had its ups and downs for Fairmont State, both the men’s and women’s teams just missed the cut for the NCAA Tournament.

    March 10, 2014 1 Photo

  • FSU’s rally falls short against ’Toppers

    Twenty minutes into Saturday night’s Mountain East Conference semifinal-round showdown between top-seeded and No. 3 ranked West Liberty and fourth-seeded Fairmont State here at the Charleston Civic Center the Falcons looked down and out.

    March 9, 2014

  • Cooper leads FSU past Bobcats, 70-62

    Brendan Cooper played liked a first-team all-league selection even though he strangely wasn't, and Chase Morgan did what he does best in the game's final 1:18 – hit shots.
    The result was a 70-62 Fairmont State victory over fifth-seeded West Virginia Wesleyan Friday evening in the quarterfinals of the Mountain East Conference Men's Basketball Tournament at the Charleston Civic Center.

    March 8, 2014

  • West Liberty, Glenville, Charleston advance to MEC semi-final

    Charleston out-lasted Wheeling Jesuit, 91-85, in overtime in the first quarterfinal of the Mountain East Conference Tournament presented by GoMart on Friday afternoon.
    Andre Harris, who finished with a game-high 22 points, picked up a steal and then converted a traditional three-point play to put Wheeling Jesuit up 76-73 with :21 seconds left.

    March 8, 2014

  • Cold-shooting Lady Falcons fall to State

    In its biggest game of the season to date Fairmont State suffered its worst performance.
    Fifth-seeded FSU shot a season-low 29.5 percent from the field (18-of-61), including a dismal 8-of-33 showing (24.2 percent) in the second half and as a result fell, 71-59, to fourth-seeded West Virginia State in the quarterfinals of the first Mountain East Conference Women's Basketball Tournament here Thursday night at the Charleston Civic Center.

    March 7, 2014

  • Falcons hope for tournament run

    Since day one, making another post-season run has been at the top of Fairmont State coach Jerrod Calhoun’s mind.
    Last season the Falcons went three-for-four in the WVIAC Tournament, falling to West Liberty in the tournament’s final game. The strong run, though, propelled the Falcons into the NCAA Tournament as a No. 4 seed.

    March 7, 2014

Featured Ads
FSU Sports Highlights
NDN Sports
House Ads