|Updated 12;20 a.m., Avon hangs on against Perrysburg (11-15-13)|
|Written by THOMAS SCHMELTZ/Sentinel Sports Writer|
|Friday, 15 November 2013 23:35|
Maybe it was fitting mishaps cost the Yellow Jackets in their last game, too.
Perrysburg failed to capitalize on two field goals and had 12 penalties, costing it 113 yards, in a 24-21 loss to third-ranked Avon, Friday night at Huron Memorial Stadium in the second round of the Division II playoffs. PHOTO GALLERY
The ’Jackets, who finished 9-3 overall, also lost two fumbles in the first half, one leading to an Avon field goal.
“Turnovers hurt us,” said Perrysburg head coach Matt Kregel. “And the other thing is the kicking game has been our weak spot all year. We’ve worked our butts off in the kicking game and it ended up costing us against a great team.”
Avon was out-gained and maybe out-played overall, but the Eagles capitalized when they needed to, even though they threw five interceptions.
“Whenever you turn the ball over that much, you’re lucky to get out with a win, and we feel that way right now,” said Avon coach Mike Elder, whose team improved to 12-0.
Perrysburg sophomore Trevor Hafner, who replaced injured starting quarterback Gus Dimmerling, was outstanding given the circumstances.
Hafner, making his first varsity start, was 21-of-40 for 282 yards and two touchdowns. He threw one interception.
“That’s exactly what we knew we were going to get out of Trevor,” Kregel said. “He’s got that gunslinger mentality. We knew he was going to step in there, step up in the pocket and let it rip.”
After being out-gained 255-230 in the first half, Avon took a 17-7 lead into the break.
But Perrysburg senior defensive back Nick Fleming, who filled in for Dimmerling on defense, took his third interception of the game 49 yards for a touchdown, sparking the ’Jackets.
The catch and scamper down the right side cut Avon’s lead to 17-14 with 11:48 remaining in the fourth quarter.
“We always talk about all-in on defense … we try to play every snap to the fullest on every single down,” Fleming said.
After forcing an Eagle punt, Hafner led Perrysburg to its first lead of the contest.
An 11-play, 91-yard drive put the ’Jackets up 21-17 with 7:53 to play after Hafner found tight end Nate Patterson in the end zone.
But as Fleming said, “Everything good has to come to an end.”
Avon took the ensuing drive 64 yards in just over two minutes for the go-ahead score.
Eagles’ quarterback Tommy Glenn hit Zack Torbert on a perfectly thrown fade down the left side, putting Avon up 24-21 with 5:11 left.
And Perrysburg could not respond.
The Jackets’ turned the ball over on downs twice in the final five minutes.
Evan Conley came up with Perrysburg’s fifth interception after Avon was driving in the final four minutes.
Conley’s interception gave Perrysburg the ball at its own 12-yard line with 2:05 to play, but two incomplete passes and two sacks sealed the fate of the ’Jackets’ most memorable season.
“Some penalties at bad times (hurt us) and then when you’ve got to drive the length of the field with your backup quarterback … down at your own end, it’s tough,” Kregel said. ‘‘When (Avon) could sit on our underneath stuff and our pick routes and play over the top, that makes it tough on us.”
For Perrysburg and its 14 seniors, its greatest season closes the same way it started.
But it was apparent all year how much Kregel enjoyed being around his team, calling it “The greatest team I have ever worked with,” in his postgame huddle.
And even the hard-nosed, intense coach found himself slightly choked up when asked about his feelings towards this season ending.
“It’s going to hurt. When you spend that much time with kids … it’s going to hurt,” he said.
AVON 24, PERRYSBURG 21
|Last Updated on Saturday, 16 November 2013 09:41|
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