Entering the final week of the IHSAA football regular season can be a daunting task. For teams who are out of their conference races, each team has two main priorities entering into Friday night. That is one, to be able to stay healthy entering the opening week of sectionals, and two, to be able say you’ve improved each week heading into the postseason.
After starting off the season 1-3, the Avon Orioles can officially say that, entering the Buffalo Wild Wings Game of the Week matchup against Zionsville on a four-game winning streak.
“I think we have definitely gotten better week by week,” said Avon Head Coach Mark Bless. “It is one of the things when you have a mature group, a good team that has good leaders, I think that’s what you strive for. Our seniors have definitely been solid leaders for us, and have pushed us into getting better weekly.”
Of course just by looking at the wins-total, you could assume that Avon had started off poorly. Except when you take a closer look, you see the Orioles lost by a combined three points to Westfield and Fishers, who sit on top of the Hoosier Crossroads Conference at 7-1 in conference play. Those teams obviously earned their hard-fought victories, but it just shows how good this Avon team has been throughout the regular season.
And over the past four victories, which includes victories over Brownsburg, Noblesville, Lafayette Jeff, and McCutcheon, the Orioles are averaging just a shade under 36 points per game on offense, allowing just 12.75 points per defense as well.
“Our special teams is playing well too, but our defense has been strong pretty much all year,” said Head Coach Mark Bless. “Defensively we scored a couple touchdowns in the past two weeks in both games. So as long as our defense can keep helping out our offense, we are a team to be reckoned with.”
The Orioles could use this momentum heading into next week’s sectional opponent in Ben Davis (6-2), who is definitely one of the top teams in the State in Class 6A. However, don’t think for one second the Orioles are overlooking a tough Zionsville squad, who stands in their way first before tournament play.
“Coach always preaches take it week-by-week,” said Avon Senior David Griffith. “Don’t worry about the next team until Saturday morning practice, so we are going to do that and focus on Zionsville this week.”
The Orioles had nothing but positive things to say about a “tough, tough Zionsville team” that may be 4-4, but is letting up only 13.8 points on the defensive side of the ball. The Eagles enter Friday night with a little momentum on their side, finishing off Brownsburg by the final of 27-3 last Friday night.
“We have a good tradition with Zionsville,” said Coach Bless. “They are always a very well-coached team, and a hard-fought team. So we want to make sure we are ready to go against Zionsville, and worry about next week when next week gets here.”
You can see highlights from the Buffalo Wild Wings Game of the Week on “Football Friday Night” at 10:35 pm on Fox59, and make sure to join Chris Hagan at the tailgate party starting at about 5:30.