AVON, Oct. 2 – A win is not just a win for the coaching staff of the Avon High football team. The Falcons improved to 2-1 on Saturday night with a 26-14 victory over Stafford/East Windsor.
It was Avon’s 28th straight win in the Pequot Conference’s Uncas Division dating back to 2006, their fifth straight win at home under the lights and 13th win in 14 games against Stafford.
But coach Brett Quinion and his coaching staff were disappointed. In the third week of the season, they expected a better performance from their players.
“We’re struggling badly,” he said. “We’re not executing well in any offensive set, running or throwing. I expected a lot more out of us.”
Against a smaller and less experienced team such as Stafford, sloppy footwork, half-hearted blocking and poor technique wasn’t too much of a problem. It will hurt them against a better team.
And there are better teams awaiting Avon, including Enfield (2-1, 2-0 Pequot Uncas), Coventry/Windham Tech (2-1, 2-0) and Gilbert/Northwestern (3-0, 2-0) in a challenging three week run at the end of the regular season.
Seniors Tyler D’Onofrio and Colin Pavano each had two touchdowns in the victory over Stafford. D’Onofrio scored on a 12-yard reception Pavano and an 80-yard interception return – the third longest interception return in school history.
All-State running back Ross McDonald played very little, gaining 10 yards on two carries. After suffering a concussion in the win over Ellington, he was cleared to play but the Falcons limited his playing time just to be safe.
Avon took a 7-0 lead on a one-yard run by Pavano (13 rushes, 80 yards) with 3:44 left in the first quarter and an extra point from Kevin Deming. Less than a minute later, it was 13-0 after D’Onofrio caught his fifth TD pass of the season on a 12-yard reception from Pavano. The extra point kick from Deming was no good.
Avon made it 20-0 with D’Onofrio’s 80-yard interception return and Deming’s extra point with 10:11 left in the first half.
Stafford got on the scoreboard with an nine play, 67-yard drive to open the third quarter that ended with a 24-yard touchdown pass from Tim Artuc to Martin Graham. Avon’s Tyler Arnott blocked the extra point attempt.
Avon extended its lead to 26-6 on a nine-yard from Pavano with 2:41 left in the game to cap off a 10-play, 44-yard drive.
Stafford scored again on its next offensive play as Artuc broke some half-hearted tackles to scoot around the right side for a 66-yard touchdown run down the sideline with 2:18 remaining. Artuc scored on a two-point conversion to trim the lead to 26-14.
The Falcons did have a 31-yard touchdown run by Pavano early in the fourth quarter negated due to a holding penalty.
NOTES: Avon’s Ryan Jordan intercepted two Artuc passes in the second half. … D’Onofrio’s interception return for a TD was the third longest in school history. The record is 97 yards, set in 1997 by Matt Keefe against Stafford. Avon’s Walt Moore had 95-yard interception return for a TD in 1962 against Wilton.
Avon 26, Stafford/E. Windsor 14
Stafford (0-3) 0 0 6 8 — 14
Avon (2-1) 13 7 0 6 – 26
A: Colin Pavano 1 run (Kevin Deming kick), 3:44
A: Tyler D’Onofrio 12 pass from Pavano (kick failed), 2:31
A: D’Onofrio 80 interception returns (Deming kick), 10:11
S: Martin Graham 24 pass from Tim Artuc (kick blocked), 7:00
A: Pavano 9 run (kick failed), 2:41
S: Tim Artuc 67 run (Artuc run), 2:18
RUSHING: Avon – Ross McDonald 2-10, Colin Moore 11-74, Colin Pavano 13-80, Kyle Brady 7-34
PASSING: Avon – Colin Pavano 7-13-0, 75
RECEIVING: Avon – Tyler D’Onofrio 4-62, Viraj D’Costo 2-7, Colin Moore 1-9