Indianapolis – The Horseshoe Classic at Lucas Oil Stadium saw the Avon Orioles taking on the Lawrence Central Bears. Down 23-7 at halftime, the Orioles fought back in the second half to defeat the Bears 38-31.
With less than a minute to play in the game and the score tied at 31, Avon junior quarterback Brandon Peters ran back-to-back quarterback keepers – the first for 15 yards and the second a 1-yard touchdown plunge with 30 seconds left in the game. Alex Stephan added the extra point. Stephan also added a 43 yard field goal in the fourth quarter to tie the game at 31 with 5:22 left in the game.
Lawrence Central received the opening kickoff and marched it down the field. On the drive, they converted a fourth down in Avon territory to keep the drive alive. They took the lead 6-0 on a two yard run by junior Gerrid Doaks. The extra point was no good due to a bad snap. The Bears had a chance for a score on their second drive, but senior quarterback Brian Haas overthrew a wide open senior Gennaro Penn. They would come back to this play.
Avon couldn’t get anything going in the first quarter. The Bears freshmen defensive tackle Kevonta Murray and senior linebacker Darrin Kirkland shut down the run and applied pressure to Peters resulting in back-to-back three and out for the Orioles. Avon looked unorganized on offense and was forced to use two of their timeouts in the quarter.
Lawrence Central started the second quarter on the Avon 24 and on the first play senior running back Montrell Wilson ran straight up the middle for a touchdown and after the extra point their lead was 13-0.
Avon finally got a first down on their fourth possession via a face mask penalty on the Bears. They also got their first points on the same drive as senior running back Derrick Tennant capped off the 66 yard drive with a 17 yard run. Senior wide receiver Braydan Luce had a great block to spring him loose. The extra point was good and Avon was only down 13-7 with 7:33 left in the second.
The Bears once again would use a long pass to get down the field quickly. This time it was Haas finding senior wide receiver Glen Calvin for a 50 yard completion. Avon senior defensive back Nick Handlon came up with a big play tipping a Haas pass away in the end zone and then junior defensive lineman AJ Elcock broke up a screen pass forcing the Bears to attempt a field goal. Junior Nash Griffin would make the 28 yard field extending the lead to 16-7.
After another Avon three and out, the Bears got the ball back at their own 47. Haas went back to an earlier play and this time connected with Penn for a 53 yard touchdown. The extra point was good and the Bears went into halftime in control 23-7.
Both defenses came out strong in the second half. Lawrence Central seemed content to run the ball and eat up the clock, but Avon made some adjustments and forced them to three and out on three occasions in the quarter.
In the meantime, Avon was starting to move the ball move effectively. A 25 yard run by Tennant led to a Peters to Andrew Griffin 13 yard downtown to cap off the 51 yard drive. Peters ran the ball in for the two point conversion making it an eight point game. On the ensuing kickoff, the Bears fumbled and the ball was recovered by Handlon on the Bears 14 yard line. On the first play, Tennant took it 14 yard for the score. Once again Avon went for two but this time failed. The Bears lead was now down to two.
After the Bears went three and out, Avon would get the ball back and Tennant broke a tackle and scampered down the sideline dragging defenders all the way to the one yard line. After a false start pushed Avon back five yards and the end of the quarter, Avon would get their first lead of the game as Peters found tight end Matt Moore for a six yard touchdown. Extra point was good and now Avon led 28-23 with 11:53 remaining.
The Bears would answer though. They had to start throwing the ball again to open up the running game. Haas would find wide receiver Daveon Bell for a 33 yard gain, and then a run of 32 yards by Doaks set up the three yard touchdown run by Doaks put the Bears back in the lead. Haas to Calvin for the two point conversion and now the score was 31-28.
A huge contributor to Avon’s 31 points in the second half was Tennant who was named the MVP of the game.
Avon will host Ben Davis, #1 in the state, on Friday, August 29th.