As the curtain falls on the 2015 IHSAA football regular season, the Avon Orioles still find themselves with a chance to earn back-to-back Hoosier Crossroads Conference championships. The Hamilton Southeastern Royals have already clinched at least a share of the HCC crown and can claim it outright with a win against Brownsburg and Victory Field in their season finale. However, a Brownsburg victory and an Oriole win against their final opponent of the regular season, the Noblesville Millers, the Orioles would share the conference crown with the Royals.
This scenario played out similarly last season as the Orioles, who had already been guaranteed no worse than a share of the title with Fishers, wrapped up their season with a hard fought win at Noblesville. Avon learned as they were preparing for their trip home that the Tigers had been upset by Zionsville that night and the Orioles claimed their first outright HCC title.
Tonight, Avon’s focus will be on continuing their winning streak that stretches over the last five games and preparing for their sectional opener opponent who happens to also be the same as last season, the Brownsburg Bulldogs.
The Orioles wrap up the season at home at Hendricks Regional Health Stadium on senior night where they will honor the 34 senior players that help comprise this years Oriole football squad along with the senior managers, cheer leaders and band members before the game.
Among the seniors being honored is Avon quarterback Brandon Peters who will be continuing his football career at the University of Michigan for coach Jim Harbaugh once his Orioles playing days are over. Peters has thrown for 1,996 yards in 8 games this season leading the Orioles with 27 touchdown passes, including 4 in last weeks game against Zionsville, while throwing only 3 interceptions all season long. The Michigan recruit has averaged over 249 passing yards per game and has a completion percentage of near 63% in those 8 games. Many times, Peters passes has been directed toward long time teammate Andrew Griffin as the senior wide receiver is also expecting to play on Saturday’s for Princeton. Griffin has 840 receiving yards this season and has caught 13 touchdown passes to lead the team in that category. Senior tight end Matt Moore will make his regular season finale start for Avon having caught 7 touchdown passes this season including 3 last week against the Eagles.
Senior defensive end A.J. Elcock enters the finale leading the HCC in sacks with 10 and among the team leaders in tackles. Senior LB/SS Matt Thompson and senior LB Zach Betustak share team high honors in tackles coming in to the final game with 69 each.
The Orioles started out slow against host Zionsville last week before junior Bryant Fitzgerald’s 53 yard punt return for a touchdown in the second quarter awoke a sleepy Oriole offense that had been held scoreless in the first quarter. The Orioles scored twice more before the half on a pair of Peters to Moore touchdown passes and led Zionsville 21-7 at the half. Avon Had the ball to begin the second half and struck quickly to extend their advantage to3 touchdowns when Peters found Moore for a third time in the game. Jordan Peterson caught the last of Peters touchdown tosses on the next drive from 27 yards out and the Orioles never looked back. Junior running back Corey DuPriest added a 73 yard scamper in the third quarter and senior running back Darian Love capped off a 60 yard drive, taking the handoff on every play, with a 20 yard scoring run. Peters finished 16-25 for 273 yards, 4 touchdowns and 1 interception.
Noblesville enters the game having lost their last three contests including last weeks 47-24 blowout courtesy of the Brownsburg Bulldogs. Brownsburg led 40-10 entering the final quarter. Millers junior quarterback McGwire Plumer, who took over the reigns ofthe Noblesville offense after senior quarterback Luke Melloh suffered a season ending knee injury in the previous weeks loss to Hamilton Southeastern, threw for 205 yards on 14-28 passing with 1 touchdown and one interception. The Millers ground attack was also stymied by the Bulldogs defense as starting tailback Jarel Youree was limited to only 38 yards on 16 carries. Defensively, the Millers gave up 517 yards to the potent Brownsburg offensive machine.
Catch all the action of Avon Oriole football tonight on Audio Sports Online beginning at 6:30 p.m. with the pregame show followed by the kickoff between the Orioles and Millers in the regular season finale at 7:00 p.m.