Central Valley keeps firm grasp on 1st place in conference, routs Avonworth

Saturday, October 23, 2021 | 12:06 AM

The football never saw Central Valley territory in the first quarter.

That was a taste of things to come.

Central Valley turned in a dominant defensive effort and fended off another challenger to its Class 3A Northwestern Six crown, defeating Avonworth, 43-6, Friday night.

Right from the start, Avonworth was heavily pressured, going three-and-out on its first offensive possession.

The Warriors only needed four plays to drive 28 yards for the first score of the game. A 1-yard rushing touchdown from junior quarterback Antwon Johnson and successful PAT by junior Serafino DeSantis put the Warriors up 7-0 early.

“They’re a great football team,” Avonworth coach Duke Johncour said. “When you allow them to start three possessions inside our 30, that’s not a good way to start the game.”

Junior quarterback Nate Harper, who went 13-27 for 88 yards, threw the first of his three interceptions on the next drive for Avonworth (7-2, 3-1).

Central Valley (9-0, 4-0) once again capitalized, as senior running back Landon Alexander found the end zone on a 13-yard rush to make it 14-0.

Another interception then turned into another score by the Warriors with junior Jayvin Thompson running it in for six more, giving Central Valley a comfortable 21-0 lead still in the first quarter.

Thompson also had a game-high 83 yards receiving on three catches.

“I think when things are all equal and you play teams that are equal in big games, you (have) to find another variable that you can take advantage,” Central Valley coach Mark Lyons said.

The only other score in the first half came on a 7-yard rushing touchdown from Alexander with a successful two-point conversion on a Johnson run. The halftime score saw the Warriors with a 29-0 lead.

Central Valley continued its high-scoring ways in the second half, but with bigger plays.

Junior Bret Fitzsimmons took it to the house with a 38-yard touchdown run with 9:16 to play in the third quarter.

Thompson found the end zone again in the fourth quarter as Johnson completed a 28-yard catch to his wide receiver, making it 43-0 after a successful PAT from DeSantis.

The only score that the Antelopes managed was a 1-yard touchdown run from junior Luke Hilyard.

“We moved the ball effectively and efficiently, (but) we didn’t punch it in,” Johncour said. “We didn’t capitalize and finish drives.”

Alexander accumulated 170 yards on 22 carries.

“We managed him,” Johncour said. “We didn’t stop him by any stretch of the imagination.”

In addition to the passing game, the Antelopes lacked in the rushing game as well. Sophomore Brandon Biagiarelli led Avonworth in rushing with 38 yards.

The Central Valley defense had something to do with that.

“I thought they’ve been getting better each and every week,” Lyons said. “I thought they were very well prepared.”

Next week, the Antelopes take their turn as the road team when they travel to Quaker Valley. The Warriors return home to face Hopewell and intend to remain undefeated.

“We’re real close to getting into November football,” Lyons said. “That’s important to us. That’s where we want to be.”

Watch an archived broadcast of this game on Trib HSSN.

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