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Avon starts off strong but can’t keep up with Tolland

Lineman Gabe DeJesus (51) opens up a path for Avon running back Jadon Folkwein earlier this season against East Catholic. Folkwein ran for a team-high 71 yards while DeJesus was on the field for every play of the game.

TOLLAND, September 15 – The Avon High football got off to a good start Saturday night against Tolland. Then, the Falcons literally ran out of gas and players.

“We were doing great things but it seemed like after every play, a starter was coming out (with an injury). I had six starters on the bench at one time,” Avon head coach Jeff Redman said.

For a team that is short on numbers this season when it comes to upperclassmen, it was a big challenge. “We just couldn’t last,” Redman admitted.

Avon forced three turnovers in the first quarter and took a nine-point lead but Tolland’s Collin Cook ran for 81 yards and three touchdowns and the host Eagles scored 34 unanswered points to earn their first victory of the season in a 34-9 Central Connecticut Conference victory under the lights.

“We capitalized on the turnovers,” Redman said. “We blocked well. We completed four passes. (Running back) Jadon Folkwein did a good job. But it unraveled with the injuries that we couldn’t control.”

Avon (0-2) took a 9-0 lead in the first quarter on a 23-yard field goal from Kevin Mullaj and a 29-yard touchdown run from Folkwein. The Falcons forced four Tolland turnovers – intercepting two passes and recovering two fumbles. They also blocked an extra point.

Cook scored two touchdowns to give the Eagles a 14-9 lead after a Ryan Carlson two-point conversion run. The Eagles stretched the lead to 21-9 with Ali Biaby rushing for a 23-yard touchdown score with 26 seconds left in the first half.

“They had more speed and size than us,” Redman said. “They were better than us. But our kids came to play and they did a good job for as long as they could. We didn’t enough (older) players.”

Avon QB Tim Del Gallo completed four passes for 71 yards in Saturday’s loss to Tolland.

Biaby ran for a team-high 106 yards and two touchdowns on 12 carries for the Eagles (1-1), who forced three Avon turnovers (two interceptions, fumble). James Deffely had 10 tackles to lead Tolland while Ryan Carlson had nine tackles and a sack.

Folkwein led the Falcons with a team-high 71 yards rushing and a touchdown on 16 carries. Quarterback Tim DelGallo completed 4-of-7 passes for 71 yards. He was intercepted twice. Junior kicker Kevin Mullaj connected on a 23-yard field goal early in the first quarter – the first field goal by the Falcons since Alden Getz in 2014.

Avon guard and defensive end Gabe DeJesus had three sacks but he never left the field. He played every play on offense, defense and on special teams.

The Falcons return to action on Saturday when they travel to Hebron to face RHAM (2-0) at 1 p.m. The Sachems beat Tolland, 21-7 in week one and have outscored their two opponents 56-7 in two games.

Avon returns home for the first home game of the year under portable lights on Friday, September 28 at the high school against Northwest Catholic.

NOTES: It was the third straight win over Avon for Tolland but Avon still leads the overall season series, 12-5.

Tolland 34, Avon 9
At Tolland
Avon (0-2)                         9    0  0  0 — 9
Tolland (1-1)                     6  14  7  7 – 34
First quarter
A: Kevin Mullaj 23 FG, 5:25
A: Jadon Folkwein 29 run (run fails), 4:08
T: Collin Cook 5 run (kick blocked)
Second quarter
T: Cook 10 run (Ryan Carlson run), 9:51
T: Ali Diaby 23 run (kick fails), 0:26
Third quarter
T: Diaby 8 run (Jack Brocious kick)
Fourth quarter
T: Cook 8 run (Brocious kick)
Individual statistics
RUSHING: Tolland – Ali Diaby 12-106, Collin Cook 12-81, Ryan Carlson 14-63, Noah Blackburn 1-5, Jon Glick 6-85; Avon – Jadon Folkwein 16-71, Dan Quick xx-21, Quandrell Stewart xx-8
PASSING: Tolland – Ali Diaby 2-6-2, 31; Avon – Tim Del Gallo 4-7-2, 71
RECEIVING: Tolland – Ryan Carlson 1-14, Aidan D’Amato 1-17; Avon – Vito Catelano 2-17, Stewart 1-6
INTERCEPTIONS: Jon Glick (T) 2-64, Folkwein (A), Francisco Longo (A) 1-42; FUMBLE REC: Mason Kerecz (T) 1-34, Quick (A); SACKS: Gabe DeJesus (A) 3
RETURNS: D’Amato (T) 3-103 (kickoff), 1-6 (punt); Blackburn (T) 1-31 (punt), Glick (T) 2-18 (punt)

Gerry deSimas, Jr., is the editor and founder of The Collinsville Press. He is an award-winning writer and has been covering sports in Connecticut and New England for more than 40 years. He was inducted into the New England High School Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2018.

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