Falcons Push in Defensive Battle, Lose on Offense

Blackout Game Results in 20-7 Defeat to Belmont

On+a+beautiful+Friday+night%2C+the+Falcons+lost+20-7+in+their+annual+Blackout+Game.

Boone Gross

On a beautiful Friday night, the Falcons lost 20-7 in their annual Blackout Game.

Boone Gross, Contributing Writer

On a beautiful Friday night, the Falcons lost 20-7 in their annual Blackout Game. The game itself was a defensive rock fight, remaining a one score contest until 1:02 in the 4th quarter. The Belmont Marauders started the game swinging, Belmont running back Adrien Gurung ’24 took every touch but one on their 75 yard opening drive for a touchdown. However, a missed extra point kept it 6-0 for the Marauders.

Two drives later, Belmont’s punter managed to pin the Falcons at the one yard line. With the way the Marauders had blitzed, it looked like a sure safety. But starting Cambridge quarterback Ben Berinsky ’23 wouldn’t have it. Backed up almost to the end line, the leftie rainbowed a perfect ball to hit receiver Dante Christie ’22, who ran down the Falcons’ sideline for a touchdown as the Belmont corner fell behind him. “I was just looking to get the ball off before the defense got to me,” Berinsky said, “[Christie] made a great catch and run. It was pretty cool that my first Varsity touchdown pass was 98 yards.”

Despite the momentum, play would stagnate for the remainder of the first half. Both teams made it to the red zone inside the two minute warning, but didn’t capitalize. Belmont opened the second half scoring, as Gurung, who had been largely stifled after running amok in the first quarter, jetted 80 yards for a touchdown. Belmont converted for 2, and the score was 14-7 Belmont early in the second half.

If we have a good week of practice and don’t get down on ourselves, we’ll be just fine.”

The Falcons offense struggled after that, breaking off amazing plays deep to Marauder territory only to fizzle at the critical juncture. Jhamir Mercadet ’24 broke free at the Belmont 40 on a third down for a 25 yard run shedding tackles all the way, but then Berinsky was sacked. A beautiful trick play, where Berinsky pitched to backup quarterback Kevin Leal ’23 who launched it to wide open Evan Fay ’22 set them up at the 20, however Berinsky was sacked again. The CRLS defense retrieved the ball multiple times at the 50, setting up chances to tie, but Berinsky was yet again sacked.

The Falcons made five trips inside the 20, all to no avail. As time shortened, Belmont finally struck. Taking advantage of a gassed CRLS defense, Gurung performed le coup de grâce, breaking away for a 60 yard sprint to the CRLS 10, where Belmont punched it in to seal the win. The final score was 20-7. “Belmont was blitzing on almost every down,” Berinsky said regarding the seven sacks he took (three of which came in the red zone). “On our starting offensive line, we only Falcons Push in Defensive Battle, Lose on Offense have one returning starter,” he explained.

Last season, almost all the Falcons’ receivers were seniors, as well as star quarterback Ashur Correa ’21 (who led the state in passing touchdowns in 2019 with 28), which are pieces that are all sorely missed. However Berinsky was accurate, showed talent on the deep ball, and seemed to have an excellent rapport with his receivers, who only dropped four passes. Berinsky ended the day with over 250 yards and no interceptions. The defense performed well also, with three batted balls at the line of scrimmage and one interception. “Last night was a tough loss but it was only one game,” Berinsky said. “If we have a good week of practice and don’t get down on ourselves we’ll be just fine.”

This piece also appears in our September 2021 print edition.