HARTFORD, Oct. 27 – In a few years, when players on the Avon High football team remember their high school careers, Saturday’s game against the Bulkeley/HMTCA/Weaver co-op team will be one they tell stories about and remember fondly with a smile.
It’s been a tough few weeks for the Falcons. Coming into Saturday morning’s contest, they had not scored a point in four games – a new school record that competitive athletes never want to set.
And the Falcons faced the elements. It was raining steady throughout the game. Temperatures were in the low 40s with wind gusts that swept across the Bulkeley High field in the south end of Hartford. There was standing water on the sidelines and the natural grass field was slick with plenty of mud.
They had a blast.
Avon limited Bulkeley/HMTCA (Hartford Magnet Trinity College Academy)/Weaver to minus 41 yards of offense, made 13 tackles for losses, forced two fumbles and had a safety in a 20-0 CCC Division III East victory in steady rain Saturday morning.
At the end, they were soaking wet from head to toe and covered in mud. But the Falcons were thrilled to have finally grabbed a victory after six straight losses to open the season.
“It feels great to put the ball in the end zone,” Avon High coach Jeff Redman said. “This is (a) very satisfying win. They worked their (butts) in practice this week.”
It was hard to keep your footing on the slick field and there were numerous fumbles. Both teams lost the ball twice. The game was delayed 30 minutes for lightning in the first quarter and when the teams returned, the rain was heavier.
“The field conditions limited both offenses,” he said. “We ran two plays. That is all we could do.”
It was enough. A quick defense with the ability to make tackles helped, too.
Late in the first quarter, Avon was driving when they lost the ball on a fumble with the Bulldogs recovering on their own 12-yard line. Avon pushed Bulkeley backwards on their first two plays and when the Bulldogs had to punt, the punter fumbled the ball out of the end zone to give Avon a safety and an early 2-0 lead.
Early in the second quarter, Bulkeley took over on their own 37-yard line. Avon’s defense swarmed all over the Bulldogs, who lost, 3, 4 and 5 yards on consecutive plays. On the punt, the snap went over the punter’s head. Avon’s Josh Cronkite picked up the loose ball on the five-yard line and ran it in for his first career touchdown and an 8-0 lead for the Falcons.
In the fourth quarter, Avon faced a fourth down and five on the Bulkeley 35-yard line. Dan Quick burst through the middle on a 24-yard run to the 11-yard line. He scored two plays later from the five-yard line to extend the lead to 14-0.
Jadon Folkwein, who was the workhorse for the Falcon offense, scored the final touchdown of the game on a two-yard run with 1:36 remaining for a 20-0 lead. Folkwein started the scoring drive with a 37-yard run – the longest of the game. Folkwein led all rushers with 110 yards and a touchdown on 23 carries. Quick ran for 41 yards on five carries.
Folkwein and Quick are two of the nine seniors on the team that have helped the team weather this challenging season.
“We have our own goals as a team and that is to move the ball on the ground,” Redman said. “We don’t have a quarterback that throws the ball well right now. It’s the seniors that keep this thing going. They are just a great, great group of gentlemen. The whole team played awesome and their enthusiasm was great all day.”
And they got a win in the mud. “They had a ball (out there),” Redman said. “It’s not something (play on grass in the mud) you get to do all of the time with all of the turf fields.”
The Falcons return to action next Saturday at 1 p.m. when they host Rocky Hill at the high school.
Avon 20, Bulkeley/HMTCA/Weaver 0
Avon (1-6) 2 6 0 12 — 20
Bulkeley (0-7) 0 0 0 0 — 0
A: Safety. Punter fumbles ball out of end zone, 3:50
A: Josh Cronkite 5 fumble recovery (kick blocked), 5:47
A: Dan Quick 5 run (run fails), 9:01
A: Jadon Folkwein 2 run (run fails), 1:36
RUSHING: Avon – Jadon Folkwein 23-110, Dan Quick 5-41, Sam Obie 1-0, Francesco Longo 1-5, Vito Catalano 1-2; Bulkeley – Gustavo Larrea 7-minus 21, Zahir Akbar 2-minus 9, Adrian Wiggins-King 3-0, Joshua Thomas 2-minus 6, Messiah Holloway 1-minus 5, Yenseph Torres 1-minus 2, Parishe Smith 1-4
PASSING: Avon – none; Bulkeley – none
RETURNS (kickoffs): Bulkeley – Thomas 1-25, Wiggins-King 1-29, Larrea 1-0; Avon – Catalano 1-16
FUMBLE RECOVERY: Gabriel DeJesus (A), Josh Cronkite (A), Steven De La Cruz (B), Jerry Nelson (B)