Coatesville's Bessick scores 3 TDS in 35-0 victory over Avon Grove09/21/2021 03:26PM ● By Richard Gaw
By Richard L. Gaw
In the moments before visiting Coatesville took on Avon Grove last Friday evening in West Grove, a foreboding and thickish fog began to permeate the night air above the bleachers, and its presence against the field’s arch lights gave off an ominous look, like a tell-tale sign.
For the Avon Grove Red Devil football team, the fog never went away, and neither did Red Raider wide receiver Lebron Bessick, who scored three touchdowns in Coatesville’s 35-0 dismantling of Avon Grove on Sept. 17 in Ches-Mont National Division play.
Both teams struggled through a scoreless and mistake-filled first quarter that saw neither team be able to latch onto a sustaining drive. On Avon Grove’s first possession on their own 27 yard line, quarterback Connor Walsh fired a strike to Owen Yoder that was caught, fumbled and gathered in by Coatesville defensive back Spencer Ferguson at the 40.
On third and 15 near midfield, however, Avon Grove defensive back Cooper McDannald intercepted a Harry Susi pass with 10:15 left in the quarter, giving the Red Devils a short-lived possession at midfield that was ended when running back Anthony Lorusso fumbled and the loose ball was gathered in by Coatesville lineman Francisco Hall.
As the game continued to unfold, its story line became clear: the ability – or lack of ability – to overcome turnovers and penalties.
Assisted by a 15-yard facemask penalty, Walsh drove the Red Devils into Coatesville territory, but on first down with 4:52 left in the quarter, Ferguson picked off a Walsh pass that stymied the drive.
With 34 seconds remaining in the first quarter, Susi fired a 36-yard touchdown pass to Bessick that was nullified by a Coatesville penalty, but with time ticking away, Susi continued to move his team forward. He threw a 16-yard completion to wide receiver Dowayne Molina that got the ball to the 33-yard line, and then a second strike to Molina that took the ball to the Avon Grove 10-yard line. With 11:18 left in the second quarter, Susi handed off to running back Bryan Lacey, who rushed for a 13-yard score that gave Coatesville a 7-0 lead.
Then Bessick took over the game, striking first with a 73-yard touchdown on a punt return with 9:18 left in the first half, and after a Walsh pass was picked off by lineman Takiyah Lynch near midfield, Susi found Bessick over the middle for a 38-yard TD with 5:16 left in the half that gave Coatesville a 21-0 lead.
With 3:02 left in the first half, Bessick struck again, when he returned a punt for a 57-yard touchdown sprint that ended a 9-minute, 28-point scoring stretch for Coatesville.
The Red Raiders wrapped up their scoring with a 10-yard pass from Susi to wide receiver Tommy Ortega with 8:37 left in the third quarter.
Despite the loss, Avon Grove head coach Joe Coffey saw some positive signs with his team.
“We didn’t execute on special teams and turned the ball over too much, but we didn’t go out there and tuck tail,” he said. “It wasn’t like we were going to back down. We played really competitively, especially defensively in the first half.
“We will focus on special teams and doing a better job of holding onto the football, and continue to play good defense. It’s just something that we have to continue to build on, because we’re not even halfway through the season yet.”
With the win and a Sept. 24 home game against Henderson in front of them, Coatesville is now atop the Ches-Mont National division with a 1-0 record and is 3-1 overall. With a trip to Great Valley scheduled for Sept. 24, the loss gave Avon Grove an 0-1 record in the Ches-Mont and a 1-3 overall record in the early season.
To contact Staff Writer Richard L. Gaw, email [email protected].