AVON — The Avon football team took to the field in its newly named Hendricks Regional Health Stadium Friday night.
Hendricks Regional Health and Avon Community School Corporation formed a relationship beneficial for the pair, however, the meeting on the field between Avon and Hoosier Crossroads Conference foe Westfield was anything but friendly.
Westfield handed Avon its second consecutive loss, 17-15.
“Like I told our players, everything in life happens for a reason, and there’s a reason why,” Avon coach Mark Bless said. “We need to figure out why we’re where we’re at and why we’re 0-2. We’re making strides, but we have to cut out mistakes that cost us on drives on offense.”
Westfield’s up-tempo offense caught Avon off guard from the opening play as Shamrocks quarterback Nick Ferrer hit Frank Grimes for a 77-yard gain to the Avon 3-yard line. Three plays later, Jacob Robinson crossed the goal line for a 7-0 lead.
“We’re generally pretty good starters, but we have to become a better finishing team,” Westfield coach Jake Gilbert said.
Westfield tacked on another touchdown before Avon answered.
Sophomore quarterback Brandon Peters connected with Cress Kimbrough for a 24-yard TD, and the Orioles trailed 14-6 after a missed extra point with 5:30 left in the quarter.
Westfield added a 33-yard field goal with 33.4 seconds left in the half for a 17-15 lead at the break.
“Last year in this game we had a pretty good start, but they beat us with 23 seconds left,” Gilbert said.
History almost repeated itself. Avon came on strong in the second half as Westfield had trouble mounting an offensive surge.
Avon’s defense held Westfield scoreless and gave up just under 75 yards to the Shamrocks’ offense.
“Our defensive coaches made some nice adjustments at halftime and I thought they did a nice job up front, putting pressure on the quarterback,” Bless said. “We did a much better job covering the receivers and plugging up the run.”
Nyles Edwards brought Avon to within eight with his 23-yard field goal in the third.
Westfield missed a 35-yard kick with 8:45 left to play, leaving the door open for the Orioles.
Avon took advantage, going on an 81-yard, 14-play drive that culminated with a 4-yard TD run by David Schall, who finished with 91 yards on 19 carries.
The subsequent two-point conversion was no good, as Peters’ fade attempt went over the receiver.
“He might have been trying too hard possibly,” Bless said. “We liked the size advantage we had over there and went with it. If we make a better pass maybe it’s a good play. It’s hard to press a sophomore, he’s doing a good job for us.”
Avon linebacker TJ Wilson intercepted Ferrer with 2:51 to play on the Westfield 44-yard line, giving the Orioles hope.
That was dashed as Westfield intercepted Peters for the second time and ran out the clock.
Avon travels to West Lafayette Harrison next Friday in search of its first win of the season.
Stadium gets new name Avon High School renamed its football facility the Hendricks Regional Health Stadium and officials with both the Avon Community School Corporation and HRH announced a new partnership between the pair before Friday night's game. Under the agreement, HRH is now the exclusive healthcare provider of sports medicine services and employee health initiatives for ACSC. Over the past few years, HRH has provided an employee health clinic, providing on-site medical care and pharmacy services for school employees, their spouses and dependents. The expanded agreement provides athletic trainers to provide on-site care for high school and middle school athletic teams and the Avon High School marching band. The new agreement includes team physician coverage for all varsity football games. The hospital will also provide athletic physicals, baseline IMPACT concussion testing for high school athletes, CPR and AED instruction for high school coaches, and more. "This expanded partnership with Hendricks Regional Health dramatically enhances services for students and staff," Avon Superintendent Maggie Hoernemann said in a press release. "We are thrilled to be associated with an organization long known for its commitment to our community and to education." The hospital is also expanding the relationship to include care for occupational medicine, student athletes and support for school nurses. "Hendricks Regional Health has a deep sense of commitment to our community and we are truly excited to expand this relationship with Avon Community School Corporation," HRH President and CEO Kevin Speer said. "The alliance enables Hendricks Regional Health to provide Avon Community School Corporation with health and wellness services, athletic training, students and staff education, as well as continued onsite clinic services. These efforts are backed by quality care offered at lower costs than other hospitals."