Oxford stings Avon Grove’s comeback chances
In front of a packed stadium at Avon Grove High School, the Oxford Hornets came back and held on to a 27-26 victory over the Avon Grove Red Devils. Both teams received passionate support throughout this thriller.
“It was a fun game but I wish to see the outcome changed,” Avon Grove senior quarterback Tanner Peck commented on his team’s heartbreaking loss. “We came out and we played hard but it didn’t go to where we wanted it.”
Avon Grove senior linebacker Matt Lawrence intercepted a pass from Oxford quarterback Ethan Herb after the ball deflected out of the hands of Oxford wide receiver Devon Sumner. Lawrence returned the pass for 15 yards. Later in the first quarter, Oxford senior halfback Musty Mahmud scored a 10 yard rushing touchdown.
Avon Grove senior quarterback Tanner Peck threw a 13 yard pass to Matt Lawrence which led to an 8 yard touchdown pass to senior Austen Radecki. Peck then completed a quarterback sneak for a two-point conversion to give Avon Grove an 8-7 lead.
Avon Grove extended their lead with another passing touchdown from the duo of Peck and Radecki. The 80 yard touchdown pass extended Avon Grove’s lead to 15-7.
“They were really feeling it, he was leading him (Radecki) perfectly,” Grant commented on the chemistry between Avon Grove’s passing duo of Tanner Peck and Austen Radecki.
The Avon Grove defense recorded two sacks on Ethan Herb from defensive lineman Zack Mann and Bashom Haith. Later on, Avon Grove senior linebacker Andrey Green retrieved an interception from Herb.
“We stopped them when we needed to and we got the ball when we needed it the most,” Avon Grove senior wide receiver Johnny Grant said.
A fumble recovery by Oxford’s Eric Bentz allowed the Hornets to score a 6 yard touchdown run by Zach Deasey while on its next possession. Bentz’s touchdown made Oxford inching within one point, 15-14.
With sophomore Beau Kush injured, Tanner Peck fulfilled his punting duties and delivered a 53 yard punt that soared high enough to land at the 11 yard line. Avon Grove’s Andrey Green intercepted a pass from Oxford’s Ethan Herb in the end zone with 12 seconds left in the 1st half.
Austen Radecki returned the kickoff 24 yards to begin the second half. About a minute later, senior Johnny D’Aquanno fumbled with Oxford’s Devon Sumner recovering. On Avon Grove’s next possession, Radecki received a 34 yard pass from Peck. D’Aquanno redeemed himself by scoring a 12 yard touchdown for the Red Devils. Junior Taylor Kim ran a successful 3 yard two-point conversion attempt. Avon Grove held a 22-14 lead.
A 21 yard run from Peck gave him momentum to then throw passes to seniors Jake Parola and Austen Radecki for over 20 yards each. Parola’s 25 yard grab resulted in a 27 yard field goal from senior Avon Grove kicker Anthony Scarpato. As time expired in the third quarter, Oxford began their comeback with a 61 yard touchdown catch from wide receiver Devon Sumner. Oxford was trailing at the end of the third quarter by score of 26-21.
Johnny D’Aquanno began the fourth quarter with a 20 yard reception for the Red Devils. An interception by Oxford’s Patrick Winters eventually led to a 55 yard touchdown reception from junior Ryan Hubley. Oxford’s two-point conversion attempt was no good. Oxford regained the lead, 27-26.
After the Oxford touchdown, the Red Devils begin their first comeback attempt. John D’Aquanno returned the kickoff for 24 yards. Jake Parola retrieved a 7 yard pass from Peck. Tanner Peck then ran two plays with a total of 13 yards.
“Down by one point you got to get a field goal or a touchdown to win the game,” Peck commented on his mindset for the comeback attempts.
With 4:29 remaining in the fourth quarter, Avon Grove successfully attempted a conversion while on 4th and 10. Parola received a 20 yard pass thrown by Peck to get the first down. Despite the fancy footwork of Peck, a 20 yard field goal attempt from Anthony Scarpato was no good.
During Avon Grove’s second comeback attempt, a pass interference call was issued against Oxford. Avon Grove started from the Hornet 24 yard line after the penalty. Tanner Peck ran for 12 yards to get Avon Grove to the Oxford 12 yard line.
On 1st and 10 from the Oxford 12, Peck’s pass to Jake Parola was intercepted by Oxford linebacker Patrick Winters with less than a minute left.
“We had many plays where we could of but I made a bad decision at the end,” Tanner Peck stated. “I didn’t see the linebacker in the middle, I should’ve thrown it on top of him but tried to put it on the receiver, and he made a good pick. Unfortunately it lost us the game.”
This game clearly showed why high school football is a unique phenomenon in American culture. Everyone wants to see a thriller and the crowd stayed till the very end to see who would come out on top.
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