AUBURN HILLS — Friday was everything but a thing a beauty for Auburn Hills Avondale. The Yellowjackets did prove that you can still win ugly..
Engaging in a game where there were more mishaps than a Chevy Chase National Lampoons Vacation film, Avondale won its fourth straight OAA Blue Division game with a 34-18 triumph over visiting Birmingham Groves.
Avondale (4-2, 4-1) overcame its array of miscues to put up some more gaudy numbers from its big-play offense to stymie the Falcons..
“I think we might have gotten away with one,” admitted Avondale coach Steve Deutsch. “We kind of practiced that way all week. I honestly think we didn’t play that well. After the kind of perfroamcne we had last week against (Birmingham) Seaholm, I thought we had a little bit of a letdown. .
We were kind of lucky because Groves is a good football team,” continued Deutsch. “They come at you and nit hard, they’re big and fast and they are well-coached. I guess we are fortunate to have the players we have. They came though again with some big plays.”.
Junior quarterback Mitch Robinson finished 17-for-25 passing for 303 yards and four touchdowns. Senior Ray Tillman moved over the 1,000-yards receiving mark with five catches for 196 yards, and picked off two passes for good measure. Fellow senior Tony Harris Jr. had nine catches for 97 yards..
That all came in a contest where the Yellowjackets allowed Groves junior Keon Collier to rush for 239 yards on 40 carries, committed six turnovers and yielded a pair of on-sides kicks to the Falcons..
Still, Avondale made plays on both sides of the football to pull away from the pesky Falcons. .
Avondale stopped Groves (2-4, 2-4) in the red zone on three occasions on the second half. The third time came after the Yellowjackets had to punt from their own end zone and the Falcons had the ball first-and-10 on Avondale’s 19 yard line..
Dom Orlando spearheaded Avondale’s defensive effort with 16 tackles..
Groves simply had no answer for Robinson’s arm and the Yellowjackets’ arsenal of offensive weapons. Tillman was unstoppable at times, hauling in TD passes from 18, 72 and 84 yards out, while Robinson is on course to eclipse 2,000 passing yards on the season..
“The kid’s a player. He’s been doing it all year long, and you can’t say enough about him,” said Deutsch of Robinson. “He always comes to play..
“Tillman has been doing this all season,” added Deutsch. “Sometimes it’s what he does after the catch is what makes him so good. He find the (holes) and just takes off.”.
Groves moved the ball with regularity, but it was the Falcons’ inability to convert at key times which kept them from stealing the road win. Groves also committed five turnovers..
Brenden Flaherty, Groves’ veteran coach, said he could not simulate Avondale’s quickness in practice. .
“Their speed is unbelievable,” said Flaherty. “That tells you how explosive they are. Those 34 points were pretty quick. They have some big-play players that we could not stop.”.
Groves took its first and only lead in the third quarter, taking the opening drive of the half 66 yards on just seven plays. Collier rambled in from 16 yards out with 8:58 in the frame to put his side up 18-14..
The lead was short-lived, as Avondale stuck back with 6:29 to go in the third on Robinson’s laser to Harris Jr. from 10 yards out, changing the score to 21-18..
After causing Groves to cough up the ball on its first play on the ensuing play, Tillman hauled in a long pass, spun through two defenders and raced 84 yards for the score to put Avondale up 27-18 with 3:20 to go in the third quarter..
Harris added a 32-yard scamper for the Yellowjackets with 2:35 left in the game to cap the scoring..
The Yellowjackets coughed up the ball five times in the first half, four fumbles and an interception. Twice on those fumbles where when they yielded onsides kicks to the Falcons, including the game’s opening kickoff..
Avondale did not trail in the first half, going to Tillman twice for touchdowns from the arm of Robinson. The first came with 6:02 left in the first quarter, when Tillman hauled in a 72-yard reception down the left sideline. Tyler Drabek’s first of two extra points in the half proved to be crucial..
Drabek was 4-of-5 on extra points on the night, while Groves missed two-point conversion passes on all three touchdowns..
The Robinson to Tillman combo struck again with 7:29 left in the second quarter, as Tillman made a diving catch in the corner of the end zone to put his team up 14-6..
Collier scored on runs of seven and 12 yards in the first half for the Falcons.
Category: Auburn Hills Avondale