— While the Avon Orioles high school team has a chance to win a sectional title Friday, it’s the Junior Orioles who are preparing to win state.
The Avon Jr. Orioles consist of 33 fifth- and sixth-graders and play in the Indiana Elementary Football Association — 19 teams made up of mostly central Indiana squads. The Orioles sit 11-0 on the season and have a chance at 6 p.m. on Saturday at Avon High School to win the state championship against Carmel.
Avon has won three games in the postseason over Columbus, Decatur Central and Center Grove to advance this far. The dominating Orioles have averaged 40 points per game while only surrendering 20 points throughout the entire season. The closest game all year was against Center Grove in a 13-0 regular
“We have a nice balance and we are very explosive and very athletic on both sides of the ball,” coach Terry Haston said. “Our philosophy is, ‘If you don’t let the other team score, you can’t lose.’”
Avon runs a spread offense based on the Oregon Ducks with a lot of motion and misdirection. Orchestrating the offense is quarterback Nathan Conley and he’s assisted by running backs Jalen Peterson and Sampson James. Defensively, Matt Bromm, Carson Brewer and Trae Reynolds lead the Jr. Orioles.
Coach Haston has been at the helm for the team since it’s inception nine years ago. After running the youth program for Avon football, Haston created a better competitive opportunity for the young men.
“We were getting bigger and bigger and our in house program was booming. We branched out and looked for something more competitive for some of the kids.” he said. “And we are faith based so we were looking for something where we could talk to kids about more things other than football.”