Unbeaten Anthony Wayne is Avon’s next big test
Looking to get better and better each week, the Avon Eagles are confident as they head into their Division II, Region 6 semifinal matchup against undefeated Whitehouse Anthony Wayne.
After starting out slow, the third-seeded Eagles (101) took care of business at home in their opening round matchup against Holland Springfield, soaring past the sixth-seeded Blue Devils, 4914, on Nov. 2.
Looking back on the performance, Coach Mike Elder thought the game had some high moments, and some moments where the team could have been much better.
“It was about alignment, is really what it was,” Elder said. “When we figured out how to align, I felt like we played really good defense, and obviously we got pressure on the quarterback and that was a big help.”
The Eagles took a 35-14 lead at halftime and never looked back.
With the No. 2 Generals (11-0) up next, Avon will look to stay focused, clean up the mistakes and try to cause Anthony Wayne to make some of its own.
“The first thing we have to do is just be true to ourselves and just do what we do well,” Elder said. “But then in-game, you have to make in-game adjustments and you have to have answers for what they do. They’re well-coached, so they’ll take away some things that we are inherently good at because they’ll have the schemes to do so.”
Senior quarterback Ryan Maloy once again posted another stellar performance, tallying five total touchdowns (three rush and two pass) as he led the Eagles offense in a familiar scene of high-pressure under the Friday night lights.
“Yeah, Ryan Maloy is our leader,” Elder said. “He has been a starter for us for three years and he is 32-2 in varsity starts. He has a great deal of experience, and when things are not going well, that’s when he is at his best. That’s what I’m most proud of him for. He had another great game, and I feel like as long as he is healthy for us, we have a chance to beat anybody.”
Avon’s defense certainly looked locked-in as they shut down the Blue Devils’ offensive weapons in the secondhalf, allowing the Eagles to build up an insurmountable lead and grab the victory.
Elder credited his defense for buckling down in the second half, something they’ll need to do for all 48 minutes if they want to have a shot against a high-powered Whitehouse Anthony Wayne squad.
“Well, I thought our defense played their best game of the year,” Elder said. “The first few possessions it took them awhile to adjust to some of the speed of some of the receivers from Springfield, but after that I thought they played their best football game of the year defensively.”
Elder likened Anthony Wayne as a mirror-image of Avon.
“I think it all starts with taking away the run,” he said. “They are very capable. I think Anthony Wayne is a lot like us. They can run it and throw it, they play great defense and they are very well coached. Avon and Anthony Wayne are very similar teams. It’s like we our playing ourselves.”
Avon’s Ryan Maloy celebrates on Nov. 2.