Stepehen Dumeyer | Reporter
Number 1: Speed Kills
The Orioles have showcased an impressive amount of speed, especially on defense and special teams. This is created at all levels on defense, starting with Washington State commit senior Nathaniel James on the defensive line, alongside senior Ross England, who made the transfer from linebacker to the defensive line this season, making him a speedy threat on the edge. Linebackers junior Clayton Peters and junior Austin Mayo both featured their speed with scoop and scores of 78 and 81 yards, respectively, against Columbus North. Junior Antwain Wade Jr. made his presence known against Columbus North with two interceptions, nearly running the routes for the receivers.
Special teams were exactly that, special. Punt Returner, senior Tyler Anderson, made a couple cuts then took off for a 79-yard return that set the offensive up inside the 10-yard line against Columbus North. Senior Joseph Sargent got a piece of two punts including one complete block that gave the offense the ball inside the 10-yard line for the second time against Columbus North. Sargent also blocked a field goal and took it 89-yards for the score as time expired in the first half against Ben Davis. The special teams unit also tacked on a second-half fumble recovery on a punt to give the offense the ball inside, you guessed it, the 10-yard line, which led to a touchdown. This brings the turnovers forced total to a whopping seven in two games.
Number 2: Offense has had it Easy
The game against Columbus North featured a majority of drives starting in the opponent’s territory along with only 215 total yards in a game where the starters played roughly half the game. The defense and special teams forcing five turnovers gave the offense relatively easy scoring opportunities. Against Ben Davis the offense turned over the ball in the red zone in the first half with an interception being thrown by junior Henry Hesson, another drive stalled out at the one-yard line with the team settling for a field goal. While the offense has still put up eight touchdowns in two games, the offense can’t accept turnovers in the red zone or settling for field goals in closer games later on this season as opposed to the 48-14 and 41-17 wins that have come easily.
Number 3: Spreading the Ball Around
While the sample size hasn’t been high the ball has gotten spread around in the passing game. Six different receivers have caught touchdowns, sophomore Jake Leeper, juniors Remington Gall and Carmelo Mitchell (two) and seniors, Tyce Ferrell, Cohen Murrell, and Jalen Love. With such depth catching the ball, any opposing secondary will have their hands full.
Number 4: Explosive Run Game
Junior Chishon McCray busted a 62-yard run for a touchdown against Columbus North. The run game has rebounded after taking a blow losing multiple key parts of the offensive line and now Indiana University running back Sampson James. However, the offensive line is now led by Notre Dame commit, junior Blake Fisher who has the team’s only pancake block and has done nothing but steamroll defensive lineman so far this season. The running game also picked up a majority of the yards in the game against Columbus North tallying 109 yards, three more than the mark the passing game put up.
Number 5: This team Could Easily be No. 1 in the State Soon
Avon is currently ranked third in the AP poll behind Warren Central and Brownsburg. Brownsburg managed to top Ben Davis by a score of 29-24 in week one while the Orioles routed the Giants 41-17. Brownsburg also lost their week two game to St. Xavier of Cinncinati 38-17. Warren Central won week one in a comeback victory over Center Grove 21-14 and dropped their game to Louisville Trinity, 17-14, who beat the No. 1 team in Indiana for the second straight week. If Avon keeps performing with this speed and explosiveness throughout the roster, they could be looking down upon the rest of Indiana from the top of the rankings.
Photos by Tara Martin