AVON, November 3 – The growth of the Avon High football wasn’t evident on the scoreboard earlier this month. The Falcons were shutout in four consecutive games in losses to Bloomfield, Berlin, RHAM and Northwest Catholic.
Bloomfield has been in the top 10 of the state coaches poll for the month and Berlin has been receiving votes for most of the season.
That growth has been evident the past two weeks. A week ago, Avon won their first game of the year in a driving rainstorm beating the Bulkeley/HMTCA/Weaver co-op team by 20 points.
On Saturday, senior running back Jadon Folkwein ran for a career-high 203 yards and three touchdowns while junior kicker Kevin Mullaj hit a pair of field goals as Avon powered past Rocky Hill, 35-8 on Senior Day at the high school.
“We’ve been getting better,” Avon High coach Jeff Redman said. “We played Bloomfield and Berlin and we still did a lot of good fundamental things. We don’t have the skill those clubs have and that’s fine. We can live with that. But we are definitely getting better at the fundamentals and that is what the game is about.”
Against Bulkeley, the Falcons held the Bulldogs to minus 41 yards offense in very wet and slippery conditions. Against Rocky Hill (2-6), Avon forced two turnovers (fumble and an interception) and allowed the Terriers just one first down and minus one yard of offense in the second half.
“We were a different team today,” Redman said. “(Rocky Hill) was a good team. I thought they were a little bit better than us on film but we executed. My team is definitely a lot more disciplined and they are getting that belief in themselves.”
Everyone makes mistakes but the Falcons (2-6) aren’t letting mistakes bring them down.
“We’re keeping our heads in the game,” Folkwein said. “Earlier in the season, we would make a mistake and that would be it. We were done. But now if we mess up, we come back stronger.”
Folkwein is the first Avon runner to rush for more than 200 yards in a game this season. He also had a 44-yard run for a touchdown called back due to a holding penalty.
He had a 61-yard touchdown run on a fourth down-and-one play with 1:43 left in the game. He broke through the line, eluded two defenders and was off to the races.
“That was all (credit) to (the offensive) line,” Folkwein said. “They blocked incredibly today. It was all them.”
Redman added, “(Rocky Hill) had some good size up there, too but we beat them up on the ball, right on the line of scrimmage.”
Folkwein also came up with a key interception late in the second quarter with Avon leading by seven, 15-8. The Terriers were driving and had marched 60 yards to the Avon 20-yard line with 29 seconds remaining in the half. On fourth down, Folkwein intercepted a Konnor Walsh pass to stop the drive and preserve the lead.
The Terriers never got into Avon territory again.
Rocky Hill had the first serious scoring opportunity of the game. Late in the first quarter, the Terriers marched 63 yards on nine plays from their own eight-yard line to the Avon 29-yard line. Nico Capasso ran 20 yards to the Avon nine-yard line but the run was wiped out by a holding call and the drive stalled on the Avon 35.
On Avon’s next drive, the Falcons were facing a third down and 11 from their own 45 when Folkwein completed a 35-yard pass to Aaron Baldauf to keep the drive alive. It was a surprise since the Falcons have seldom thrown the ball this year.
“We run it every day in practice,” Folkwein said. “It was just a matter of executing the play.”
Folkwein scored on the next play – a 20-yard run up the middle. He broke through at the line of scrimmage and raced into the end zone. Mullaj’s extra point gave Avon a 7-0 lead.
After a 36-yard kickoff return, the Terriers marched 60 yards in eight plays with Matthew Sevigny scoring on a three-yard run. A two-point conversion run from Capasso gave the Terriers an 8-7 lead.
Avon took a 15-8 lead when Dan Quick ran up the middle for a 15-yard touchdown run with 3:27 left in the second quarter. Folkwein scored on a two-point conversion. One of the big plays on the drive was a 33-yard run from Francesco Longo. Quick ran for a 73 yards on 14 carries.
In the third quarter, Avon extended their lead to 18-8 on a 20-yard field goal from Mullaj. Key plays on the scoring drive were a 34-yard kickoff return from Folkwein and a 12-yard run from Folkwein on third down and 1 on the Terrier 33-yard line to keep the drive alive.
A 37-yard run from Folkwein with 10:45 left in the game extended the Avon lead to 25-8. Mullaj hit a 35-yard field goal and Folkwein scored on a 61-yard run with 1:43 left to complete the scoring.
Avon returns to action on Friday night when they travel to Plainville to take on the Blue Devils (5-3).
NOTES: Mullaj is the first Avon kicker with two field goals in a single game since John Burdick hit two field goals in 2013 against Haddam-Killingworth. … Folkwein’s 200-yard effort was just the second 200-yard rushing effort for the Falcons since 2015. Dylan Burgos ran for 200 yards against Rockville in 2016. … Avon’s win over Rocky Hill was just their second win over the Terriers since the two schools began playing in 2002. Avon is 2-6 against Rocky Hill win their other victory coming in 2015.
Avon 35, Rocky Hill 8
Rocky Hill (2-6) 0 8 0 0 — 8
Avon (2-6) 0 15 3 17 — 35
A: Jadon Folkwein 20 run (Kevin Mullaj kick), 10:05
RH: Matthew Sevigny 3 run (Nico Capasso run), 6:16
A: Dan Quick 15 run (Folkwein run), 3:27
A: Mullaj 20 FG, 8:48
A: Folkwein 37 run (Mullaj kick), 10:45
A: Mullaj 35 FG, 5:58
A: Folkwein 61 run (Mullaj kick), 1:43
RUSHING: Avon – Jadon Folkwein 21-203, Quandrell Stewart 2-minus 2, Dan Quick 14-73, Francesco Longo 2-22, Vito Catalano 1-minus 1; Rocky Hill – Sunkee Wong 8-28, Konnor Walsh 5-minus 2, Nico Capasso 14-57, Kamari Grant 1-0, Matthew Sevigny 13-82, Team 1-minus 28
PASSING: Avon – Jadon Folkwein 1-2-0, 35; Vito Catalano 1-1-0, 18; Tabor Engle 1-1-0, 11; Rocky Hill – Konnor Walsh 3-11-1, 42
RECEIVING: Avon – Aaron Baldauf 2-53, Dan Quick 1-11; Rocky Hill – Alex Calacagni 1-15, Rockwell Spalding 1-8, Omar Ahmed 1-19
RETURNS: Avon – Cameron Casey 1-4 (kickoff), Catalano 1-14 (punt), Folkwein 1-34 (kickoff)
FUMBLE RECOVERY – Catalano (A), Spaulding (RH); INTERCEPTION: Folkwein (A) 1-0
MISSED FG: Mullaj (A) 42