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Mistakes cost Falcons in loss to Bloomfield under the lights

Avon's Teddy Allmendinger (34) is stopped by Bloomfield's  Bloomfield's Dillon Harris (44) in Bloomfield's victory on Saturday.

Avon’s Teddy Allmendinger (34) is stopped by Bloomfield’s Bloomfield’s Dillon Harris (44) in Bloomfield’s victory on Saturday.

AVON, Oct. 10 – The Avon High football team made some mistakes and it cost them in Saturday night’s CCC Division III battle with Bloomfield.

A potential interception was tipped into the air but Bloomfield receiver Russell Thompson-Bishop grabbed it out of the air and raced 31 yards for the first score of the game. Thompson-Bishop added another TD when he broke a tackle and ran 45 yards down the sideline. He scored a third when he got behind a defender for a 61-yard TD reception.

It was more than enough as the visiting Warhawks beat Avon, 42-28 under portable lights rented by the Friends of Avon football booster club.

Bloomfield QB Rayshawn Phillips, who led Capital Prep/Achievement First to the Class S Small Division title a year ago, completed 23-of-34 passes for 397 yards and five touchdowns. Thompson-Bishop caught 13 passes for 256 yards and four TDs.

“We knew we could throw the ball,” Bloomfield coach Ty Law said. “I knew (Thompson-Bishop) would be good in this game. We were going to him.”

Bloomfield improves to 4-1 while Avon slips to 3-2. The two teams aren’t in the same CCC Division III division but this should loom large in the race for a spot in the eight-team state tournament.

It was a bit frustrating for the Falcons, who received a tremendous performance from senior QB Ian McDonald, who ran for a game-high 168 yards and four TDs on 24 carries.

“I’m proud of my kids and our coaches,” Avon coach Jim Caouette said. “The game plan wasn’t wrong. We had two blown coverages (on defense), a missed tackle (that resulted in a TD) and a tipped pass that went for a touchdown. It’s not like they drove the ball on us all night long.”

Still, it was enough to let Bloomfield  take command. Thompson-Bishop’s first TD catch wasn’t designed for him. Phillips threw a pass that was tipped up into the air by Avon’s Ryan Nolan. Thompson-Bishop didn’t quit on the play, snatched the ball out of the air and raced 31 yards for the score.

On his second TD reception, a 45-yard pass from Phillips, Thompson-Bishop caught a short five-yard pass but broke a tackle and raced down the sideline for the touchdown and a 14-7 Warhawk lead. His third TD reception, a 61-yard pass play, came after the pass from Phillips went through the hands of an Avon defender and right into Thompson-Bishop’s hands for a 21-7 lead.

Phillips completed 14-of-23 passes for 253 yards in the first half with Thompson-Bishop catching seven passes for 162 yards and three TDs.

“We didn’t want to come in here and lay an egg,” Outlaw said. “We were really focused on this game this week. It was our best week of practice this year.”

As they always do, Avon played with determination. Late in the first quarter, Dean Zacchio recovered a Bloomfield fumble at midfield. On five plays, McDonald ran a combined 50 yards, scoring on a 20-yard where he escaped two tackles to tie the game at 7-7 with 11:49 left in the second quarter.

Bloomfield extended its lead to 28-7 when Phillips completed a 45-yard touchdown pass down the middle of the field to Jose Crepas, who got behind the Avon defense, with 1:31 left in the half.

The Falcons marched 83 yards on six plays with McDonald rushing for 57 yards on the drive, including a five-yard scoring run with 31 seconds in the half to cut the Bloomfield lead to 28-14.

But the Warhawks re-established their dominance in the third quarter with a 82-yard, 12 play drive that extended their lead again to 35-14. They scored on a 31-yard scramble from Phillips on fourth down and six to extend its lead to 35-14.

McDonald scored on an 18-yard run with 4:35 left in the third quarter and a 8-yard run early in the fourth quarter to cut the Bloomfield lead to one score, 35-28. But Phillips again found Thompson-Bishop behind an Avon defender for a 49-yard touchdown that extended the Warhawk lead back to 14 points, 42-28.

Avon did drive to the Bloomfield five-yard-line on its next possession with 6:40 remaining in the game but a fumble that resulted in a four-yard loss and back-to-back penalties on the Falcons really set Avon back.

They had fourth and goal from the Bloomfield 40-yard line. Three consecutive pass interference penalties kept the drive alive but Bloomfield stopped McDonald with 3:26 to force a turnover on downs.

“I told them before the game that this will come down to the team with the fewest mistakes and the least among of penalties and that wasn’t us,” Caouette said. “We had too many mental breakdowns on defense.”

Bloomfield was actually called for 13 penalties for 125 yards while Avon was called for seven penalties for 60 yards. But many Falcon penalties came on their own potential scoring drives.

“Our kids are a tough group,” Caouette said. “We’re going to get better this week and try to find a way to defeat (unbeaten) Berlin (at Sage Park on Friday, Oct. 23) and keep our hat in the mix.”

Bloomfield 42, Avon 28
At Avon
Bloomfield (4-1)       7  21  7  7  — 42
Avon (3-2)               0  14  7  7  — 28
First quarter
B: Russell Thompson-Bishop 31 pass from Rayshawn Phillips (Lewis Calhoun kick), 5:30
Second quarter
A: Ian McDonald 20 run (Aiden Getz kick), 11:50
B: Thompson-Bishop 45 pass from Phillips (Jason Loney kick), 6:11
B: Thompson-Bishop 61 pass from Phillips (Loney kick), 3:31
B: Jose Crespas 45 pass from Phillips (Loney kick) 1:31
A: McDonald 5 run (Getz kick), 0:31
Third quarter
B: Phillips 31 run (Loney kick), 6:27
A: McDonald 18 run (Getz kick), 4:35
Fourth quarter
A: McDonald 22 run (Getz kick), 10:44
B: Thompson-Bishop 49 pass from Phillips (Loney kick), 9:47
Individual statistics
RUSHING: Avon – Ian McDonald 24-168, Teddy Allmendinger 3-4, Sean Del Gallo 1-2: Bloomfield – Rayshawn Phillips 6-43, Andrell Pinnock 18-56, Duane Roberts 5-17, Isaiah Colebrook 3-25
PASSING: Avon – McDonald 12-26-1, 157, Luke Meaney 0-1-0; Bloomfield – Phillips 23-34-1, 397, Colebrook 0-1-0
RECEIVING: Avon – Geoff Kirk 5-32, Allmendinger 5-91, Del Gallo 2-34; Bloomfield – Russell Thompson Bishop 13-256, Lewis Calhoun 3-22, Andrell Pinnock 2-27, Isaiah Colebrook 3-50, Duane Roberts 1-minus 3, Jose Crespo 1-45

Gerry deSimas, Jr., is the editor and founder of The Collinsville Press. He is an award-winning writer and has been covering sports in Connecticut and New England for more than 30 years.

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