By Ryan Palencer
---- — NOBLESVILLE — Behind 180 total yards on the ground, Avon dominated the line of scrimmage and defeated host Noblesville, 17-11.
“We needed (this win),” Avon coach Mark Bless said. “We have been in some tight games. It was a total team effort. The offense did their job. They left some points out on the field. Special teams was huge. We had the blocked punt for six.”
The Orioles (3-3) set the tone from the beginning, striking first on a 15-play, 80-yard drive that ate up 8:30 of clock. The drive was capped by a 18-yard strike from Brandon Peters to Cress Kimbrough. The drive also included fourth down conversions — both quarterback sneaks by Peters.
“Our first possession, we gambled a little bit and went for it on fourth down,” Bless said. “I thought that was huge to keep the ball out of their hands and be able to march it down the field and be able to punch it in for six.”
The Millers (4-2) had a tough time getting their fast paced offense going in the first half, as Avon compiled two sacks in the half, and Noblesville compiled only 44 yards.
“Our defense played lights out,” Bless said. “We kept the quarterback contained all night.”
Avon took a 14-0 advantage in the second quarter, when a botched punt turned into a touchdown return by Nick Handlon.
However, Noblesville was able to take advantage of an Oriole muffed punt late in the first half. A 43-yard field goal by Ben Rice made the difference 14-3 going into the locker room.
The Miller offense came to life midway through the third, as they went on a nine play drive that featured a 48-yard pass from T.C. McKiernan to Joey Herron to set up a 21-yard touchdown scamper by Cody Smith. The two-point conversion was successful and Noblesville cut its deficit to 14-11.
The first play of the fourth quarter was a 38-yard field goal by Nyles Edwards, making the score 17-11 and that would be all the Orioles needed.
Derrick Tennant led the way for Avon with 82 yards on 16 carries.
“It just feels good to control the line of scrimmage and get a good push up front,” Tennant said. “We always knew that we could do it, we just needed to come out of the gates. Once we come out of the gates, we are good for the rest of the game.”
David Schall contributed 70 yards on 17 carries.
“The cutback lanes were open a lot for us,” Schall said. “We just hit it hard and they couldn’t stop it.”
Avon will look to build on the victory when they battle Lafayette Jeff on Friday.