Red Devils roll over Chi in season finale
WEST GROVE >> Avon Grove stifled Chichester on its way to a 32-7 victory in the season finale for the Red Devils.
“When I got here, football didn’t matter,” said Avon Grove head coach Harry O’Neil. “It was just an activity. But, because of these guys, now it matters. We still had a bleacher full of people in a game that didn’t matter to anybody but us.”
The defense for Avon Grove was on-point, not allowing Chichester to cross the 50-yard line until the first play in the fourth quarter.
Avon Grove safety Tyler Boyd helped start the defensive effort early in the game. Boyd picked off Chichester quarterback Andrew Rodriguez on the first drive of the game and returned it for a 30-yard touchdown.
“We’ve been watching film all week so we knew it was coming,” Boyd said. “I just saw the receiver coming in and the quarterback stepping up. I made the play but our d-line put the pressure on them, so it was an allteam effort.”
After that interception, Avon Grove had its way with Chichester.
Five minutes after Boyd’s interception, Avon Grove’s offense scored on an eightyard pitch to senior tailback Nate Jones. Jones ran to the outside and made his cut behind a key block by Niko Arhontakis. Jones rushed 11 times for 25 yards and one touchdown in his last game as a Red Devil.
“It feels amazing to get the win,” Jones said. “Playing with my brothers who I have been playing with my whole life. I loved playing here and to play with them one last time felt great.”
After the game, O’Neil said replacing what Jones brought to the team won’t be easy.
Kevin Francis scored in the third quarter on a three-yard run up the middle. Other than Jones, Francis was the only other running back to score and run for double-digit yards. He finished with six rushes for 49 yards and the touchdown in the third.
At halftime, Avon Grove locked in with a 22-0 lead over Chichester.
And after halftime, it was much of the same for Avon Grove.
Again, Boyd kicked off the half with a touchdown. Only this time it was on offense.
On the touchdown, Boyd lulled the defense into thinking he was running a reverse, only to set his feet and fire a ball 28 yards to a wide-open Brett Yurkovich in the end zone to put Avon Grove up 29-0.
“We’ve been practicing that play all week,” Boyd said. “The safeties were running up on the reverse and I’m lucky I got it there.”
Yurkovich lead his team in receiving yards for the game with three catches for 79 yards and a touchdown.
Chichester’s only score came with four minutes left in the fourth quarter. Rashaad Shaw took the ball on a quarterback sneak from the 1-yard line to put the Eagles on the board.
Even though the game was their last of the season and not a playoff game, O’Neil had some thoughts on what his team has brought to the program.
“I told them before their legacy isn’t in wins and losses it’s in what they brought to the culture,” O’Neil said. “The guys played hard. They respected the fact that there was a game to play. Even though it was a contingency game and not a playoff game.”