AVON, August 16 – It’s a new year and the Avon High football team will be taking a path that the Falcons haven’t taken for a long, long time.
The Falcons began preparations for the fall campaign on Monday under new head coach Sal Cintorino. Many of the players will be new as well. Avon graduated 17 seniors from last year’s squad that went 8-2 and won the CCC Division III Eastern Division championship.
“It’s going well,” said Cintorino, who brings 19 years of head coaching experience to the Falcons. He led Central Connecticut State University for nine years and was the head coach at Newington High and Bristol Central for five years each.
“We didn’t have spring practice so everyone is like a sponge here,” he said. “It’s all about absorbing information. We’re taking it one day at a time but we’re excited how hard the kids worked in the summer and in the weight room.”
The Falcons graduated some standout performers including quarterback Ian McDonald, wide receiver Geoff Kirk, linebacker Teddy Allmendinger and running back Andrew Blackmore. Kirk signed with Army to play football. Blackmore signed with Assumption. Allmendinger earned Walter Camp All-State honors and is a preferred walk-on at UConn.
“They’re coming off a really nice year and they had a great group of seniors and those underclassmen have been nurtured by that senior class,” Cintorino said. “We have a lot of kids without a lot of playing experience. It will take some time but we understand that. Everything takes time. If you want to be something special, you have to be patient and keep working.”
This could be one of the most inexperienced teams to begin the season in about 10 years. There were just 10 juniors on last year’s team and just 18 of the team’s 337 points were scored by underclassmen.
At this early point, there is no first or second team. “The players are really competitive with each other and everyone is doing their best to show who belongs on the No. 1 team,” Cintorino said.
The Falcons will scrimmage at New London on Saturday, April 27 at 11 a.m. They’ll host Farmington in a scrimmage at the high school on Tuesday, August 30, at 3:30 p.m.
Avon opens the 2016 campaign with a home game against Rocky Hill on Saturday, Sept. 10, at 1 p.m. The Falcons will play six night games including a game on Friday, October 7, at defending Class S champion Bloomfield.
Avon will host a night game on Friday, Oct. 28, against Northwest Catholic at 6:30 p.m. and in the regular season finale against Simsbury in the Valley Gridiron Classic on Tuesday, Nov. 22, at 6:30 p.m.
Last season was the tenth consecutive winning season for Avon — the longest such streak in the team’s 57-year history.
Avon Football 2016
Saturday, Sept. 10: ROCKY HILL, 1 p.m.
Saturday, Sept. 17: at East Catholic, 1:30 p.m.
Friday, Sept. 23: at Tolland, 6:30 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 1: at RHAM, 1 p.m.
Friday, Oct. 7: at Bloomfield, 6:30 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 22: BERLIN, 1 p.m.
Friday, Oct. 28: NW CATHOLIC, 6:30 p.m.
Friday, Nov. 4: at Rockville, 6:30 p.m.
Friday, Nov. 11: at Plainville, 7 p.m.
Tuesday, Nov. 22: SIMSBURY, 6:30 p.m. (Valley Gridiron Classic)