Neither Avon’s nor Brownsburg’s football programs envisioned starting the season 1-3, but here they are in Week Five staring each other in the face with a game this Friday, each hoping they’re not the one to blink first.
It took a 0-2 start before the Orioles got their first win and the Bulldogs have dropped their last three straight.
Both Avon coach Mark Bless and Brownburg coach Brett Comer agree this game has come at a good point in the season for their respective squads.
“Right now, and Brownsburg feels the same way I’m sure, we want to play our best football to gain some momentum back after getting beat last week and being 1-3,” Bless said.
Comer added, “This week comes at a perfect time for us. It will breathe a kind of fresh air into our weekly preparation. They’ve lost three games in a row and that starts to set into their brain.”
With so much on the line between the two schools, coupled with the familiarity of the players, coaches, and communities, it’s a contest boiling over with passion.
“In my coaching career, Brownsburg and Avon is as big as it gets,” Comer said. “When you’re playing your rival, it brings out a special challenge and some great memories of previous games that include wins and losses.”
Bless, now in his fourth year with Avon, said he knew the game was special the first time the teams met.
“It was eye opening for me,” Bless said. “You talk about intensity with fan support and with both teams as well as the intensity of the game. It was a really exciting, fun atmosphere and I enjoyed it. When you win, you enjoy it a little more than when you come out on the short end of the stick.”
Bless holds a 3-1 record over Brownsburg in his tenure, the lone loss coming last season, and includes a sectional victory.
Comer, now in his eighth season, sits at 4-6 overall with a 1-2 sectional record against the Orioles.
Both teams feature a youth movement at some of their offensive skill positions, which will bode well in the future for each squad. However, there has been a learning curve involved for each team.
Avon sophomore quarterback Brandon Peters seems to be getting his feet underneath him and has gained more confidence each week.
“Brandon, and what he’s done for us, he’s definitely given us a step up in the quarterback situation being a young guy and coming in and being able to contribute and make plays for us, extend plays for us at times,” Bless said.
Brownsburg quarterback Hunter Johnson took over the signal calling last week against Westfield and he’s not the only one with some youth in the Bulldogs’ backfield.
“Hunter’s going to be a really good player, but he’s only a freshman,” Comer said. “Right behind him is only a sophomore. People don’t realize that about Toks (Akinribade), because it seems like he’s been around a little while. But the fact is, he’s a 15-year-old kid playing varsity football as a sophomore.”
With so much on the line, one of these teams will come out 2-3 while the other will fall to 1-4. Both Bless and Comer, along with their players and two communities, hope they are on the winning side of Friday’s game at Avon.