PLAINVILLE, Nov. 11 – It’s been a challenging year for the Avon High football team. The Falcons dropped the first eight games of the season for just the second time in the program’s history.
With a young and inexperienced team, they were blown out of some games. But in others, they made just enough mistakes to lose. A week ago, Avon more than 400 yards of offense but they made seven turnovers (four interceptions, three fumbles) in a 22-point loss to Rockville. In a 10-point loss at RHAM, the Falcons made crucial mistakes that ended potential scoring drives.
On Friday night, the Falcons made enough plays to earn their first victory of the season – a 27-6 victory over Plainville in a Central Connecticut Conference Division III contest. Senior Leon Asberry ran for a career-high 162 yards and two touchdowns on 35 carries to carry the Falcon offense. QB Dylan Burgos scrambled for 70 yards on six carries.
Avon’s defense played well, sacking Plainville QB Frank Griffith three times and recovering a Blue Devil fumble in the fourth quarter.
“I’m really proud of the guys,” Avon head coach Sal Cintorino said. “Part of it is the character of the kids in the program. A lot of kids could have said, you know what, I don’t know if this worth it (after eight straight losses). But they came to practice every day and they are committed to what they’re doing, to each other and the program. They did a great job.”
Plainville (0-9) was also searching for their first victory of the season and marched down the field with its opening drive, converting twice on third down to get to the Avon 30-yard line. But the drive stalled due to an intentional grounding penalty on Plainville and a nine-yard sack from Avon’s Franceso Longo.
The Blue Devils marched to the Avon 29-yard line on their second possession but this drive failed due to a pair of dropped passes inside the 10-yard line and a failed fourth down run.
On the back of Asberry, Avon marched 72 yards on 12 plays to take a 7-0 lead. Asberry ran eight times for 40 yards on the drive. Quarterback Dylan Burgos made some big plays, too.
On third down and 11 on the Avon 42-yard line, Burgos found Dan Quick for a 14-yard completion. On third down and nine from the Plainville 18, Burgos found a wide open Tommy Donovan in the corner of the end zone for his sixth touchdown pass of the season with 8:35 left in the second quarter.
On Avon’s next drive, Asberry carried the ball five times for 33 yards on a six play, 37-yard scoring drive that gave the Falcons a 14-0 lead. Asberry scored from the one-yard line with 3:49 left in the first half.
“We thought coming into this game that is we got rid of the mistakes we’ve been making and things were done right consistently, we would have a great opportunity (to win) and that’s what we did,” Cintorino said.
“It feels great,” Asberry said. “We came into this game with high hopes. We didn’t want to leave without a win.”
For the third time in the first half, Plainville drove into Avon territory. They got to the Avon 32-yard line before three consecutive incomplete passes stalled the scoring drive.
Avon took a 20-0 lead on its first drive of the third quarter, marching 63 yards on nine plays. The big play was a 56-yard run down the right sideline by Burgos to bring the ball into Blue Devil territory. A 20-yard completion on fourth down and 19 yards from Burgos to Donovan put the ball on the Plainville 1-yard line. Asberry scored on the next play.
Burgos scored on a seven-yard run with 1:12 remaining to extend Avon’s lead to 27-0. Asberry gained 38 yards on the first six plays of the seven-play, 45-yard drive.
Avon will close out the campaign against Simsbury (4-5) with the Valley Gridiron Classic on Tuesday, Nov. 22, under the lights in Simsbury. Avon won the first contest last year, 55-26.
NOTES: The Avon win snapped an eight-game losing streak – the third longest losing streak in team history. The record is 13 losses in a row in 2004-05. … Avon improves to 10-18 against Plainville in a series that began in 1974. Avon won a year ago, 35-14. Before that contest, the two schools hadn’t played since 2005 when they were members of the Nutmeg Football Conference. … The win ensures that Avon won’t go the entire season without a victory. Avon has been playing football since 1960 and has never had a winless season. The Falcons were 1-9 in 2004, 2002 and 1999. … Asberry ran for 162 yards but he lost 15 yards on his first carry of the game in the first quarter. He fumbled the pitch and recovered the ball 15 yards behind the line of scrimmage.
Avon 27, Plainville 6
Avon (1-8) 0 14 6 7 – 27
Plainville (0-9) 0 0 0 6 – 6
A: Danny Donovan 18 pass from Dylan Burgos (David Gondek kick), 8:35
A: Leon Asberry 1 run (Gondek kick), 3:49
A: Asberry 1 run (pass fails), 7:54
A: Burgos 7 run (Gondek kick), 1:12
P: Brady Callahan 6 run (kick fails), 0:43
RUSHING: Plainville – Frank Griffith 10-17, Brady Callahan 13-76, Ben Root 1-4, Ed Wynkoop 4-9, Jason Mills 3-9; Avon – Leon Asberry 35-162, Dylan Burgos 6-70, Jack Jones 2-17, Dan Quick 1-4, Tommy Donovan 1-3
PASSING: Plainville – Frank Griffith 9-16-0, 93; Avon – Dylan Burgos 3-7-1, 52
RECEIVING: Plainville – Ed Wynkoop 1-8, Ben Root 2-36, Brady Callahan 4-33, Cody Marquis 2-18; Avon –Dan Quick 2-34, Tommy Donovan 1-18
RETURNS: Punts – Tommy Donovan (A) 2-17; Kickoffs – Wynkoop (P) 1-13, Griffin (P) 1-17, Donovan (A) 1-24, Marquis (P) 1-67
SACKS: Franceso Longo (A) 2-11, Chris Gens (A) 1-6; FUMBLE RECOVERY: Michael Lancaster (A); INTERCEPTION: Jake Theriault (P) 1-0