Avon Grove cruises to 25-6 Homecoming win10/04/2023 11:49AM ● By Richard Gaw
With only mild protest from other schools in the Ches-Mont League, it can be said that Avon Grove High School throws the best Homecoming event in southern Chester County, as evidenced by the long and happy parade of music, spirit and camaraderie that snaked its way through the people-lined streets of West Grove Borough last Saturday morning.
Yet for any school, the proper conclusion to any Homecoming is to win the football game that follows the pomp and circumstance, and that’s just what Avon Grove did with a convincing 25-6 non-conference victory over visiting Academy Park.
Perhaps rattled by the emotions of the day and a sell-out home crowd at Red Devil Stadium, Avon Grove played tentatively in the first quarter, racking up four penalties while surrendering a six-play touchdown drive to Academy Park that ended when quarterback KJ Moore flicked an over-the-middle, 12-yard pass to wide receiver Camir Jones that jumped the Knights to an early 6-0 lead with 1:59 left in the quarter.
Inheriting possession on its own 27-yard line after a punt in the second quarter, carries by running backs Harrison Watson and Lucas Laganelli moved the ball ten yards to the 37-yard line. With 7:39 remaining in the first half, QB Frank Hoogerwerff found Watson for a 38-yard pass that later set up a 47-yard field goal by kicker Adam Okonowicz with 5:51 remaining in the half to cut the lead in half.
While they continued to put corked numbers on the scoreboard, Avon Grove’s defense began to prevent Academy Park from placing additional digits on the board. Following Okonowicz’ field goal, Moore’s pass attempt with 3:53 left in the half was intercepted by defensive back A.J. LeClerc at the Academy Park 25-yard line. Two plays later, Hoogerwerff found wide receiver Moses T-Toe for a 25-yard touchdown pass with 3:12 left in the half that staked the Red Devils to a 10-6 halftime lead.
Beginning with an interception by defensive back Amir Thomas with 5:56 left in the third quarter, the Knights inherited the ball on their own 31-yard line. After a 49-yard pass from Moore to wide receiver Dan Gbeaday moved the chains to the Avon Grove 23-yard line, however, a fumble recovery by linebacker Benn Webb on the 17-yard line ended the Knights’ rally.
Avon Grove capitalized on another Academy Park error in the fourth quarter, when a bad snap on a punt attempt gave the Red Devils the ball at the Knights’ 3-yard line that set up Watson’s 3-yard TD run with 6:52 left, which as then followed by Watson’s 2-point conversion that gave Avon Grove an 18-6 lead.
The Red Devils wrapped up their scoring on an interception by defensive back Trevor Dosenbach, who then scampered 26 yards for a touchdown with 4:56 left. On Academy Park’s next possession, Dosenbach again snuffed out a late scoring attempt with 4:27 left in the game.
The win gives Avon Grove a respectable 4-2 overall record as they head to Bishop Shanahan (3-3) for a Ches-Mont National Conference game on Oct. 6. Now 1-5 overall, Academy Park will host undefeated Downingtown East in a non-conference game on Oct. 6.
To contact Staff Writer Richard L. Gaw, email [email protected].