Avon Grove Loses its “Buzz” Against Oxford to Start Season 0-2
Time is a precious thing and it’s essential in our daily lives. Time gives us the ability to make our goals in life a reality. Time also allows things to develop and to learn how they work. In football, time is needed to learn the coach’s styles of offense and defense. Chemistry between the quarterback and the receivers/running backs are also developed with time. Defensive schemes are also improved as time goes on. Time is the key ingredient for a team to become a playoff caliber team.
Avon Grove lost 33-7 to the Oxford Hornets on Friday night. Scoring for the Hornets began with an 89 yard kickoff return by senior Colton Turns. The field goal attempt however was blocked by Avon Grove Senior Cody Davis.
Avon Grove surprised many by passing on the first play of scrimmage instead of running. Later in the drive, quarterback Tanner Peck was intercepted by Oxford tight end and linebacker Eric Bentz. Eventually, this Oxford possession resulted in a six yard touchdown by wide receiver Collin Dawkins.
Right after the start of the second quarter, Avon Grove received a morale boost from an interception caught by linebacker Brandon Smethurst.
“Smethurst. He ended up really kind of sealing the edge and forcing a lot of things inside. So he was a big plus,” said Avon Grove defensive coordinator David Lightcap.
“Tonight, we really didn’t have any standout players. We like to look at it as a full team effort but if I could say anyone, Brandon Smethurst and Jared Braxton with two defensive interceptions.” said senior Tripp Moran.
Smethurst also recorded a tackle on running back Joey Lopez in the second quarter and a sack late in the fourth quarter. Senior defensive back Jared Braxton’s interception came early in the fourth quarter.
Coach Lightcap also said that defensive improvement occurred tonight.
“Reality is that last week, we were lining up wrong. We were doing a lot of the little things wrong. So in this game we actually improvedall over. We switched a couple techniques up and they ended up actually being one of the bright spots of the game.”
A key defensive improvement that Coach Lightcap mentioned was the tackling of the secondary. He says it’s a long process and each week, they try to get better as the season goes on.
“Tackling is the biggest thing and that’s not what we were doing.”
Oxford however scored on a 37 yard touchdown by running back Musty Mahmud with a successful two-point conversion to expand Oxford’s lead to 20-7 in the second quarter. Nearly a minute later, Mahmud scored again with a 17 yard touchdown that gave Oxford a 26-7 lead. In the fourth quarter, Colton Turns scored the winning 41 yard touchdown for Oxford with nearly five minutes left to play.
Avon Grove’s only touchdown came in the first quarter with a five yard run by junior running back Andrey Green. Quarterback Tanner Peck started the game but was pulled with nearly five minutes left in the fourth quarter. Despite throwing incomplete passes and costly interceptions, he did manage to find senior wide receiver Stone Harrison to give Avon Grove offensive yardage. Harrison’s biggest gain for Avon Grove’s offense was a 31 yard reception in the third quarter. Some of his catches even had him jumping high in the air like a dolphin jumping out of the ocean in order to catch the ball.
“We improved in aspects,” said wide receiver Ryan Amanto. “I mean it’s a team and we need to start playing as a team and better as a team. It all comes down to being a team.”
Junior lineman Drew Saienni said that the offensive line improved from last week but believes the offensive lineman could have done better in the second half.
The health of Peck is key to Avon Grove’s offense.”We got to get Tanner healthy,” said Avon Grove head coach Doug Langley. “He’s not completely healthy so I think that’s the issue right now. He’s doing a good job and learning. He’s making the right reads. Once we get him completely healthy, he’ll be doing a good job.”
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