SIMSBURY, Oct. 23 – After a two-point loss to defending Class S champion Hyde, the Avon High football team hasn’t lost a game. But coach Brett Quinion hasn’t been satisfied with simply victories. He knows that the Falcons will have to be better to defend its Pequot Conference Uncas Division championship and possibly earn a spot in the CIAC’s Class L playoffs.
On Saturday night, the Falcons won their fifth straight game with a dominating 47-12 victory over Canton and Quinion began the see the play he knows will be needed as the Falcons close out the season.
“This is the first quality game we’ve played all year,” Quinion said, praising his offensive line. “We’ve been averaging a dozen plays for a loss or no gain. We had 15 last week (in a win over Granby).
“We made some changes on the offensive line,” Quinion said. “We’ve worked really hard the last two weeks on blocking and tackling, simple fundamentals. I’m proud of the guys. We could have run whatever we wanted tonight.”
Avon’s All-State running back Ross McDonald ran for a season-high 244 yards and tied the school record that he shares with four other players by scoring five touchdowns in a single game.
The Falcons intercepted three passes and recovered a fumble. Colin Moore rushed for 44 yards on fourcarries for Avon while receiver Tyler D’Onfroio caught three passes for 31 yards and a touchdown. D’Onofrio also intercepted a pass and ran back a punt 25 yards.
After facing Housatonic/Wamogo (3-3) next week, the Falcons close out the regular season with three straight games against teams with winning records. They travel to Enfield (5-1, 5-0 Uncas) on Friday, Nov. 5 and host Coventry/Windham Tech (4-1, 4-0) and Gilbert/Northwestern (5-1, 4-1) in the final two weeks of the season.
Avon (5-1, 5-0 Uncas) had little trouble with an undermanned Canton squad, who was missing several players due to injuries.
On Avon’s first offensive play, McDonald took off around the left side for a 52-yard touchdown run and a 6-0 lead. On Avon’s second series, quarterback Colin Pavano found receiver Tyler D’Onofrio for a 16-yard touchdown pass. For D’Onofrio, it was his record-tying ninth TD catch of the season. He and Andy Roell, who caught nine TD passes in 2007, currently hold the school’s single-season record.
Avon took a 19-0 lead on McDonald’s 22-yard run early in the second quarter. McDonald gained 115 yards on his first six carries.
Canton (1-5, 1-4) got on the scoreboard on a 74-yard, 11-play drive that was helped by a pair of personal foul penalties on the Falcons. Canton QB Nick Grabowski did pick up a key first down on a fourth down and one run near midfield. Grabowski ran eight times on the drive for 40 yards on the drive, including the seven-yard touchdown run.
Within seconds, Avon responded on its next offensive play with a 69-yard run by McDonald for a 26-6 lead.
“They played hard and they played with heart,” Canton coach Roger Pearl said. “We’re undermanned. Our defense is struggling right now. Basically, we have only 13 or 14 players who are playing. We have some freshman playing on special teams.
“We’re making strides. We have a lot of young kids and it shows,” Pearl said. “It’s a work in progress. The enthusiasm is still there. The love of the game is still there. We’re trying to get better.”
Canton did make the first interception of the season against Avon quarterback Colin Pavano in the second quarter. Nick Quattro tipped a Pavano pass into the air and Robby Grillo came down with the ball and returned it 25 yards.
Grabowski led the Warriors in rushing with 124 yards on 25 carries. He also completed a 20-yard touchdown pass to Quattro in the waning seconds of the contest.
For the Falcons, Ryan Jordan, D’Onofrio and Colin Moore each came up with interceptions while Joseph Murphy came with a fumble recovery.
More on Canton football at Canton Football Online
Avon 47, Canton 12
Avon (5-1) 13 13 14 7 – 47
Canton (1-5) 0 6 0 6 – 12
A: Ross McDonald 52 run (kick failed), 9:01
A: Tyler D’Onofrio 16 pass from Colin Pavano (Kevin Deming kick), 6:14
A: McDonald 22 run (kick wide), 9:29
C: Nick Grabowski 7 run (kick wide), 5:07
A: McDonald 69 run (Deming kick), 4:03
A: McDonald 12 run (Deming kick), 10:44
A: McDonald 41 run (Deming kick), 8:30
A: Kyle Brady 43 run (Deming kick), 9:17
C: Nick Quattro 20 pass from Grabowski (no conversion attempted), 0:29
RUSHING: Avon – Ross McDonald 11-244, Kyle Brady 3-50, Colin Moore 4-44, Colin Pavano 6-31; Canton – Nick Grabowski 25-124, Nick Quattro 5-16, Nate Scott 6-15, Rob Grillo 1-2, Kyle Mullins 3-7
PASSING: Avon – Colin Pavano 3-6-1, 31; Canton – Grabowski 6-13-3, 65
RECEIVING: Avon – Tyler D’Onofrio 3-31; Canton – Quattro 4-51, Scott 1-14, Conner Gavin 1-1
MISSED FIELD GOAL: Scott (C) 37
INTERCEPTIONS: Colin Moore (A) 1-0, Ryan Jordan (A) 1-0, Tyler D’Onofrio 1-0; Rob Grillo (C) 1-25; FUMBLE REC: Joseph Murphy (A) 1-0
Penalties: Avon 8-100, Canton 3-25
RETURN YARDS: Kickoffs — Quatto (C) 6-72; Conner Gavin (C) 1-2; Ross McDonald (A) 1-63; Kyle Brady (A) 1-11; Punts – Tyler D’Onofrio (A) 1-25