Housy show fight in loss to Avon
AVON - To talk to the two coaches after Saturday’s game, won by the Avon Falcons over the Housatonic Mountaineers by a 48-12 score, you might be hard pressed to figure out who ended on what side.
Falcons head coach Brett Quinion thought his team took a step backward, while Mountaineers coach Deron Bayer thought his team did what they came to do.
“Every time we take the field,” Bayer said, “we want teams to know they have to work hard to beat us. I think we did that today.”
It didn’t look as if the home team was going to have to work very hard on the game’s first drive though.
The Falcons took the opening kick-off and drove 70 yards in six plays, the last 16 by quarterback, Colin Pavano, for a 7-0 lead.
Avon brings three major weapons to the field each game, a fourth has emerged as the 2010 campaign has unfolded.
Pavano, a converted full back who has made steady progress behind center this season, is joined in the backfield by 2009 All-State running back Ross McDonald, who can break off a long play seemingly at will.
Tyler D’Onofrio has made himself into one of the best wideouts in the state, using his basketball skills to both gain position on a defender and to go up and get the ball.
The newcomer to the group, sophomore Colin Moore, is steadily working his way up the skills ladder for coach Quinion.
“Colin has been working hard for us all season,” Quinion said. “He does so much for us. He blocks well and can go out on a route when we need it.”
On the ground against the Mountaineers, it was Moore (10-152) , not McDonald (13-94), who piled up the yardage.
Moore found the end zone four times, his 50-yard sprint for a score gave the Falcons a lead in the second quarter they would not give back.
To Bayer's’ point, his team did what he and his coaching staff had asked, they outworked and out muscled the bigger Falcons in the first half, after playing a terrible game a week ago in a 41-0 loss to Coventry.
“We asked the players to pass the mirror test,” Bayer said. “We tell them that if you can look yourself in the mirror after a game and know you did your best, you passed the test.”
After Avon scored quickly on their opening drive, the Mountaineers (3-4), responded with 75-yard, 14-play drive, capped off by a three-yard run by lineman, Marc Wildman.
Wildman lined up in the backfield and used his large frame to bull his way into the end zone.
The extra point attempt failed but the message had been sent; Housy was here to play.
“We got pushed around the field badly in the first half,” Quinion said. “Our defense just couldn’t get any stops. We had to rely on our skill players on offense too much.”
Moore waisted little time in showing himself as a skill player when he took a hand-off from midfield, one play into the Falcons next drive, and swept right all the way into the end zone for the score.
The next Housatonic drive showed similar results to the first, the visitors where moving the ball at will until the Avon defense stiffened at its 10-yard line, stopping running back Donyell Williams a yard short on fourth down.
Six plays later, Moore added another score, this one from 24 yards out for a 21-6 lead.
The next time the home team got the ball, it took all of one play for another of the big time players, this time D’Onofrio, to find the end zone.
A Housy punt into the end zone gave the Falcons a first and ten from their own 20.
Pavano found D’Onofrio wide open down the right sideline and the senior receiver was gone for an 80-yard touchdown.
Down 28-6, Housatonic earned more positive viewings in the “Mirror Test” by driving 68 yards in 11 plays for their second score.
Brisset found Will Perroti on a one-yard jump pass that made the score 28-12.
The duo had hooked up on a big play during the drive when Brisset found Perroti over the middle for a 21-yard gain.
Traditionally more of a running team, the Falcons where forced to go to the air more on Saturday than at any time this season.
Pavano had his best statistical game of the year, connecting on 12 of 20 attempts, good for 279 yards.
Making the Avon offense change course, from the ground to the air, made one coach (Bayer) real happy and the other (Quinion) not so much.
Part of the Falcons concern is their three remaining games against some real quality teams.
The battle starts next week when Avon (6-1) travels to take on Enfield on Friday night.
Enfield (5-0 in the Uncas, 5-1 overall) is thought to be the best team in the Uncas and will not be an easy out.
Next up comes Coventry, who will come to Avon a week later. The Patriots (5-0 in Uncas, 5-1 overall), earned a hard fought 28-20 win over Gilbert on Friday night at home.
Those same Yellowjackets will be in Avon on Saturday, November 20 at noon.
The Mountaineers travel to face Stafford, next Saturday night at 6:30 p.m. Not an easy game by any means, either.
“Stafford is tough,” Bayer said. “I tell my kids not to look at their record, they can flat out play.”
Two teams, tough upcoming weeks. Welcome to the best month for football.