By Richard L. Gaw
Avon Grove High School celebrated its homecoming last Saturday morning, afternoon and evening, in what began with a 5K Red Devil run, featured the pageantry of a parade, the singing of its Alma Mater, and concluded with a high school dance, but in a day meant for frivolity and celebration, nobody told West Chester East quarterback Jon Jon Roberts.
From kickoff to the final bell, the 5-foot-nine-inch sophomore, who came into the game with a Ches-Mont League-leading 1,274 passing yards, dominated the entire game in leading the visiting Vikings (4-2 overall) to a 62-34 thrashing of Avon Grove, on a day when he passed for 444 yards and two touchdowns, and ran for another three TDs on 168 yards in rushing. In total, Roberts engineered an offensive output that racked up 817 yards, which also featured a superb performance by running back Dan Genthert, who ran roughshod over the Red Devils for three scores and 185 yards.
Avon Grove (1-5 overall) jumped out to a quick 14-0 lead, on the strength of running back Taylor Kim's 12-yard TD carry up the middle on the Red Devil's first possession; a two-point conversion from Beau Kush to John D'Aquanno; and a 41-yard strike from QB Tanner Peck to Kush with 9:42 left in the quarter, which was set up by an interception by Avon Grove's Johnny Grant.
Soon after, Roberts emerged from the shadows of an Avon Grove defense that had stifled him on the Vikings' first two possessions, and he never let up. With 6:40 left in the first, Roberts scampered 10 yards to cut the lead in half, and after a fumble by Red Devil running back Jake Parola gave the ball back to West Chester East at their own 45 yard line, Genther's 36-yard carry got the ball within the 20 of Avon Grove. After a 35-yard penalty erased his run, Roberts hit receiver Pat Downey for a 17-yard gain, which was followed by Genthert's first TD of the day from four yards out.
In the second quarter, despite two field goals by Avon Grove kicker Anthony Scarpato, the Red Devil lead was quickly vanishing. With 6:43 left in the half, Roberts hit receiver Alex Corialos for a 53-yard touchdown strike, followed by Genthert's second score, a 13-yard carry with 3:09 remaining. With just 23 seconds left in the half, Roberts' shovel pass to Genthert resulted in a 17-yard touchdown to extend East's lead at halftime to 34-20.
If the first half served as Robert's entrance onto the big stage, then the second half was his extended curtain call, as he outmatched an Avon Grove defense that could never adjust to his double option threat of passing and rushing. Two of his third quarter carries – for 45 yards and 30 yards, respectively, jumped East's lead to 48-28. By quarter's end, a 67-yard pass by Roberts to receiver Chris Sheehan then led to a two-yard carry by Genthert with 34 seconds left, making the score 55-28 with a quarter still to play.
After a tag-on 18-yard touchdown run by East's running back Nick Manes extended the Vikings' lead to 62-28, Avon Grove Head Coach Doug Langley replaced Peck (333 yards passing) with freshman Nick Skulski deep into the fourth quarter. Skulski finished 5-7 in passing with one passing touchdown.
Avon Grove travels to Downingtown East for a night game on Oct. 11, while West Chester East faces crosstown rival West Chester Henderson at the same time.