Eagles Cap Season Battered Not Broken
PARMA – The Avon Eagles (13-1) finished their season the way it began – making something happen out of effort and uncertainty. A season that saw five and six different quarterback packages ended in the D-II State Semifinals, 35-10, to the Massillon Tigers (14-0) on Friday, Nov 29 at Byer’s Field in Parma.
Avon overcome injuries to several key players all year long, using a balanced attack and “next-man up” challenge, issued by Coach Mike Elder. And it worked until they ran into the number one team in the state. Even then, they still would not be denied.
The Eagles only completed three passes in the contest. The Tigers knew the run was coming. It didn’t matter. Joey Lance still gained 183 yards on 36 carries in the final game of his high school career. Junior tailback Devon Hunter tacked on 60 more on 19 carries.
A defining moment in the game, a first-half interception at the Avon 33-yard line gave Massillon the ball with a 14-7 lead. Four minutes later Zion Phifer would record the third of his game-high four touchdown runs.
From there the Tigers were able to chip away at the Eagles defense and the clock. Phifer finished with 22 carries, 152 yards, 4 TD’s. Raekwon Venson tacked on 40 more yards and the game’s final score.
Kicker Nathanial Vakos drilled a 23-yard field goal as time expired in the first half for Avon.
Massillon advances to play Cincinnati LaSalle in the D-II State Championship Game on Thursday, December 5 at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton, at 7 pm.
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