AVON, Oct. 27 – Like many teams, the Avon High football team is struggling with injuries. For their teammates, it is an opportunity to hit the field and make some plays.
“We had a lot of kids with injuries,” Avon High coach Sal Cintorino said. “We had some untested kids and they had to step up. They stayed the course.”
The Falcons took advantage of several errors from the Bulkeley/HMTCA (Hartford Magnet Trinity College Academy)/Weaver co-op team as they won their third game of the season Friday night under portable lights at the high school, 35-6.
Arhant Vimal recovered a fumble in the end zone for a touchdown while Jamir Watson tackled Bulkeley punted Kineen Haynes in the end zone for a safety. Freshman Quandrell Stewart scored his first varsity touchdown with an 18-yard run in the second quarter. Sophomore J.T. Maloney made his first varsity start at cornerback, intercepted a pass and ran it back for a touchdown.
Cintorino praised his offensive line for a solid performance – opening up holes for a new backfield. “It came down to the line up front,” he said. “The offensive line has been a mainstay all season.”
Junior Henry Schrecenghost (tackle), senior Bill Kritikos (tackle), sophomore Chris Gens (guard), senior Matt Bourquin (guard) and junior Chris Chute (center) anchored the offensive line. For Chute, it was his first varsity start at center.
Bulkeley recovered the opening kickoff on the Avon 24-yard line and drove to the Avon four-yard line but the drive stalled there.
Avon scored its first touchdown after a seven-play, 65-yard drive. It got started with back-to-back 14-yard runs from Burgos and Stewart. On third down and three from the Bulkeley 30-yard line, Burgos ran for 11 yards and first down. Two plays later, Burgos scored from 20 yards away. David Gondek’s extra point made it 7-0.
After the kickoff and a nine-yard return, the Bulldogs took over on their own 15-yard line. The snap was bobbled by quarterback Luiz Diaz and rolled into the end zone where Arhant Vimal recovered it. After another extra point from Gondek, it was 14-0 with 3:14 left in the first quarter.
On Bulkeley’s next possession, the Bulldogs had a fourth down and 41 on their own five-yard line. The snap to the punter sailed into the end zone and Jamir Watson tackled the punter for a safety and a 16-0 lead with 56 seconds left in the first quarter.
Avon added to their lead on Quandrell Stewart’s 18-yard touchdown run with 1:04 left in the half for a 22-0 advantage.
Schrecenghost, Gens and Tucker Gill and inside linebacker Francisco Warner – in his first varsity start — helped anchor the Falcon defense that pitched a shutout until the final minute of the contest.
It was the first-ever meeting between Avon (3-4, 1-3 CCC Div. 3 East) and Bulkeley (1-6, 0-3 CCC Div. 3 East). The visiting Bulldogs spent the last two seasons in the CCC playing in Division 1 due to the combined size of the three schools in the co-op but went 0-20 so they were moved into Division 3 this fall.
Avon returns to action on Friday night when they travel to Rocky Hill for a 7 p.m. start. The final home game of the season will be Saturday, Nov. 11, at 1 p.m. when the Falcons host Plainville. The season concludes on Tuesday, Nov. 21 for the Valley Gridiron Classic at Simsbury at 6:30 p.m.
Avon 35, Bulkeley/HMTCA/Weaver 6
Bulkeley (1-6) 0 0 0 6 – 6
Avon (3-4) 16 6 6 7 – 36
A: Dylan Burgos 20 run (David Gondek kick), 3:29
A: Arhant Vimal recovers fumble in end zone (Gondek kick), 3:14
A: Safety. Jamir Watson tackles Kinen Haynes in end zone, 0:56
A: Quandrell Stewart 18 run (run fails), 1:04
A: J.T. Maloney interception return (run fails)
A: Burgos xx run (Gondek kick)
B: xxx run (kick fails)
RUSHING: Avon – Dylan Burgos 18-108, Tucker Gill 2-5, Quandrell Stewart 8-66, T. Del Gallo 6-49, G. DeJesus 1-minus 2
PASSING: Avon – Burgos 1-3-0, 8
RECEIVING: Avon – Francisco Longo 1-8