|Staff photo by Chris Barber/ Avon Grove's John D'Aquanno rumbles in for a touchdown during Saturday's game against West Chester East.|
By MATT CASSIDY
LONDON GROVE -- After a strong first half, Avon Grove saw its lead over West Chester East falte,r but junior quarterback Tanner Peck and the offense quickly regained confidence and smothered the Vikings in the Ches-Mont League National Division contest Saturday, 41-31, to put the Red Devils in the win column for the first time this season.
Both squads have gotten off to struggling starts and saw this game as a way to turn their seasons around.
Avon Grove struck on the first play from scrimmage on a 63-yard bomb from Peck to Jared Braxton, the two-point conversion gave them a quick 8-0 lead.
After a quick turnover on downs, Peck and the offense drove to the West Chester East 12-yard line where he hooked up with Tripp Moran for the second score and a 14-0 advantage.
West Chester East got on the scoreboard on the first play of the second quarter. Freshman quarterback Jon Jon Roberts broke several tackles en route to a 66-yard scoring scamper to cut the deficit in half at 14-7.
The Red Devils regained a two touchdown advantage as Peck hooked up with Beau Kush for a picturesque 37-yard score to delight the Homecoming crowd.
West Chester East drove back down the field behind the running of Roberts, who gained 126 yards on the ground to compliment his 192 passing yards. But this time Roberts handed the ball off to Jordan Jackson for one of his seven carries and he went 22 yards for the touchdown. East was right back in the game at 21-14.
Peck took the field and threw one ball on the drive which was intercepted by East’s Eric Frye. East had a chance to tie the game up with less than five minutes in the first half.
Unfortunately for them, Roberts fumbled on the third first down of the drive which was recovered by Avon Grove’s Ryan Amanto.
Amanto would definitely pay for the fumble recovery because on the ensuing play from their own 4-yard line, Amanto was tackled in the end zone on a pitch for a West Chester East safety and the Vikings trailed, 21-16 at half.
The momentum stayed on East’s side as they drove down for another score and its first lead of the game. Roberts put up a 35-yard pass which was caught by Alex Corialos to make the score 23-21 in favor of East.
Avon Grove extended its lead as Peck found John D’Aquanno for a 63-yard touchdown, his second 63 yard touchdown throw of the day. Peck had an outstanding day while completing 16 passes on 23 attempts and racking up 389 yards with five touchdowns and only single interception.
The two-point conversion attempt failed and left the score at 27-23 with Avon Grove back on top.
Avon Grove would continue an exciting third quarter with a five-yard touchdown pass to Moran, his second receiving score of the day making the score, 34-23 at the end of the third.
The first play of the fourth quarter was really the turning point in the game. East needed to get a touchdown to be within striking distance of Avon Grove, but they got something far less joyous. Amanto intercepted Roberts’ pass and brought the ball back to the West Chester East two.
On first-and-goal, Peck handed off to Tom Rudisill, whose 6”1’ frame barreled through the Vikings defensive line and put the Red Devils way ahead at 41-23.
East went on to struggle throughout the fourth quarter and the offense just looked flat. The Vikings would turn the ball over on downs more than twice and Roberts also threw his second pick of the day, effectively ending the Vikings’ hopes for getting back in this one.
On its final drive of the game, East converted on a fourth-and-10 on a 13-yard touchdown pass to Pat Downey. Avon Grove recovered the ensuing onside kick and ran out the clock.
The Red Devils improved to 1-2 in the division, while the Vikings fell to 0-3 and 1-5 overall.
Avon Grove 41, W.C. East 31
W.C. East 0 16 7 8 -- 31
Avon Grove 14 7 13 7 -- 41
AG-Braxton 63 pass from Peck (Kush pass from Peck)
AG-Moran 12 pass from Peck (kick failed)
WCE-Roberts 66 run (Rogers kick)
AG-Kush 37 pass from Peck (Scarpato kick)
WCE-Jackson 22 run (Rogers kick)
WCE-Safety, Amanto tackled in end zone
WCE-Corialos 35 pass from Roberts (Rogers kick)
AG-D’Aquanno 63 pass from Peck (pass failed)
AG-Moran 5 pass from Peck (Scarpato kick)
AG-Rudisill 2 run (Scarpato kick)
WCE-Downey 13 pass from Roberts (Frye pass from Roberts)
Yards rushing 244 6
Yards passing 192 389
Total yards 436 395
Passing 15-32-2 16-23-1
Fumbles-Lost 5-2 3-1
RUSHING - WCE: Roberts 13-126, 2 TDs; Jackson 7-82, TD; Ritrovato 2-32; Costa 1-4. AG: Davis 3-9; Rudisill 1-2, TD; Kim 2-1; Kush 2-0; Peck 5-(-2); Amanto 1-(-4)
PASSING - WCE: Roberts 15-32-2, 192 yards, TD. AG: Peck 16-23-1, 389 yards, 5 TDs.
RECEIVING - WCE: Downey 4-48, TD; Ritrovato 3-26; McKenna 3-21; Corialos 2-57, TD; Frye 2-32; Jackson 1-8. AG: Braxton 4-135, TD; Davis 4-52; D’Aquanno 3-101, TD; Kush 3-84, TD; Moran 2-17, 2 TDs.