This page was last updated on: October 6, 2002

Avon vs. East Catholic/Cheney Tech

Avon High varsity football
First  season 1960
Avon Football Online
Avon, Connecticut
Avon's remaining schedule
Fri. Oct. 18: at Rocky Hill, 7 p.m.
Sat. Oct. 26: MIDDLETOWN, 2 p.m.
Sat. Nov. 2: PLAINVILLE, 2 p.m.
Fri. Nov. 8: at Vinal Tech/Coginchaug, 7 p.m.
Sat. Nov. 16: at NW Catholic, 10:30 a.m.
Sat. Nov. 23: at Farmington, 1:30 p.m.

East Catholic/Cheney 35, Avon 6
East Catholic (3-1) 14  7  7  7  -- 35
Avon (0-4)               0  0  0  6  --   6
First quarter
EC: Chris Huhtala 1 run (Akwan Shabazz kick), 7:42
EC: Huhtala 1 run (Shabazz kick), 0:58
Second quarter
EC: Dahna Deleston 64 run (Shabazz kick), 11:05
Third quarter
EC: Joe Hartigan 1 run (Shabazz kick), 2:05
Fourth quarter
EC: Hartigan 55 run (Shabazz kick), 11:47
A: Joe Friedhoff 15 run (pass fails), 1:01

                            Avon          EC
First Downs              9            10
Rushes-yards    27-101      32-213
Passing                   77          57
Comp-Att-int      6-20-0       3-5-0
Return yards            82          5
Punts-Avg.          7-29.4      2-21
Fumbles-lost          2-2          3-2
Penalties-yards    5-31        2-20
Sacks by-yards       0-0        3-15
RUSHING  Avon: Joe Friedhoff 17-72, Tony Casorio 2-minus 1, Rich Cotto 2-10, Ben Lerer 2-minus 13, A.J. Brown 2-7, Travis Bracken 1-5, Tom Canty 1-21;
East Catholic:
Bryan Williston 6-36, Courtland Wright 1-minus 1, James Black 1-minus 3, Dan Belli 1-5, Chris Huhtala 4-minus 3, Joe Hartigan 9-86, Dahna Deleston 10-93
PASSING: Avon: Casorio 2-7-0, 19 yards; Lerer 4-13-0, 58 yards; East Catholic: Huhtala 1-3-0, 20 yards; Hartigan 1-1-0, 9 yards; Deleston 1-1, 28
RECEIVING: Avon: Matt Friedhoff 1-7, Tom Canty 1-5, Max Martinez 3-55; East Catholic: Hartigan 1-28, Akwan Shabazz 1-29

Connecticut Sports Online
AVON, Oct. 5, 2002 -- Rocky Hill High football coach Dave Coyne stood in the end zone with a clipboard in hand as Avon and East Catholic/Cheney Tech battled in front of him in a Nutmeg League contest before an estimated Homecoming crowd of nearly 500 under the lights.

Coyne was scouting both teams and what he saw from Avon was a familiar sight. Coyne's Rocky Hill team is only three years old and his Terriers spent their first two varsity seasons being pushed around by larger, faster and stronger opponents.

It's been that kind of season so far for the Falcons, who dropped their fourth game of the season, 35-6 to East Catholic/Cheney in Avon's first night football game at home since 1997.

"The other teams are bigger, faster and stronger than we are," Avon High coach Tim Feshler admitted. Berlin steamrolled over the Falcons, 46-0, holding Avon to minus 18 yards rushing. Enfield beat Avon, 14-7 as the Falcons scored on a 65-yard fumble return. However, the Raiders held Avon to minus 20 yards rushing.

Against East Catholic, the Falcons rushed for a season-high 101 yards led by senior Joe Friedhoff with 72 yards and a 15-yard touchdown run in the final minute of the contest. Still, Avon was never a threat in the contest with only four first downs until its final drive of the game.

"The kids are still coming to practice," Feshler said with a grin. "People could be jumping ship but they are here each day. Some people may see it as bleak but the coaches and players are preparing and doing the best they can each and every game. We have to rely on each other."
Falcons improve but it isn't enough against Eagles
The Falcons make some big plays. They just don't make enough of them and they don't do it consistently.

Midway through the second quarter, Avon's Dave Mealey recovered an East Catholic fumble at midfield. However, two plays later, Friedhoff was dropped for a 2-yard loss and the Eagles' defensive pressure gave QB Ben Lerer no chance to complete a pass.

Late in the second quarter, Tom Canty took a handoff deep in the backfield and scooted upfield for a 21-yard gain to the Avon 40-yard line. Four plays later, Max Martinez (3-55) caught a short Lerer pass and slipped up the sideline for a 30-yard gain to the Eagle 15-yard line with 48 seconds left in the half.  But the drive stalled with three straight incomplete passes.

In the second half, Jon Oakes caught East Catholic's top runner Dahna Deleston behind the line of scrimmage for a 5-yard loss. Late in the game, Avon marched 70 yard on 13 plays, culiminating with Friedhoff scoring on a 15-yard run with 1:01 to go. Key plays in the drive included Lerer completing a five-yard pass to Canty on a fake punt attempt, a 15-yard personal foul penalty by East Catholic for a late hit and a 12-yard completion from Casorio to Martinez.

By record, Coyne's Rocky Hill team isn't much better than Avon after four weeks. His Terriers are 1-3 but they had a chance to win three of its four games. In their Nutmeg League debut in September, they pitched a 33-0 shutout over Plainville. It's primarily the same team that went 2-5-1 a year ago.

But the Terriers are noticeably quicker and hit much harder. Many of the Terriers participated in a summer conditioning program with strength coach Pete Asadorian that lasted two hours a day for three weeks. "They just ran and lifted. No football," said Coyne. "They worked on strength and quickness. They are a lot better athletes than they were last year."

"They are winning games based on what they did in the offseason," Feshler said of Rocky Hill. "The first thing is we have to work our tails off in the offseason in the weight room to put ourselves in a position to compete."

In 1995, the Farmington High team turned its program around when the kids got serious about preparing for the football season. Tired of losing, they worked hard during the offseason to get in position to win. "We always took the kids to the door (of success)," former Farmington coach Bruce Wearne said in 1999. "I told them, if you want (success), you have to go for it. If you don't, well, it's your season."

So what does the rest of the season hold for Avon? The Nutmeg League can be unforgiving with games as solid programs such as Berlin, Farmington and Middletown. Of Avon's remaining games, Plainville and Vinal Tech are down while N.W. Catholic is a solid team that beat East Catholic by over 20 points.

Heart and effort will have to carry the Falcons through the conclusion of the 2002 campaign. Avon won't be able to outmuscle anyone but if they use their heads, minimize their own turnovers and capitalize on opportunities, they might be able to come off the field with the satisfying smile following a victory.

GRIDIRON DUST: There wasn't enough players to form a junior varsity team at Avon this fall. A Developmental team of primarily freshmen and a few sophomores is playing and won its first two games. Any player that would be on JV is on the varsity squad.  ... East Catholic beat Avon for the fifth straight year.  ... Statistics and game stories about Avon High and most games in the Nutmeg League this season are available at Avon Football Online at