“The first thing we have to do is to compete and win in the Sagamore Conference,” Coll said. “If we can do that, then we have a chance to compete in the tournament.”
The Orioles advanced further than any other county school last season and ended with a 7-5 record. However, Avon suffered through some inconsistencies throughout the year and that’s something coach Mark Bless hopes to remedy.
“I believe our football team understands what our expectations are and why we fell short of those expectations last year,” he said. “This group of seniors have been a part of a sectional championship, an HCC championship as well as a team that didn’t do as well as we would have liked. We think we can learn from the lessons of the past and hope to build upon those.”
Through attrition, Avon lost key contributors on both offense and defense and those are holes that must be filled.
The Orioles are reloading at the offensive skill positions with quarterback Richie Steinmetz taking control of the offense. David Griffith, David Schall and TiJuan Johnson look to fill the void at running back.
Receivers Sam Bloom, Cress Kimbrough, Nick Etienne and Cole Rightley all have impressed Bless.
The biggest help to Avon’s offense will come up front as they return four of five starters in Jake Higginbotham, Angelo Allen, Ryan Willis and Zach Ryan.
“Still trying to come up with the right combination offensively, but we love the effort that we are getting from our players,” Bless said.
On defense, Avon lost leaders at each level of its 3-3 stack, but Bless said that group has come along nicely.
“We feel like our front seven defensive players are very solid,” he said.
Mack Duffin, Isaiah Robinson, Chad Scaggs, Joe Belden and Rashawn Brent will lead the line while TJ Wilson, Chad Piatek, Ryan Kelly and Zach Williams have impressed from the linebacker spots.