9/30/2017 12:03:00 AM 'Rocks can't coop up Orioles
AVON - Avon's high-flying offense overpowered Westfield 24-6, here Friday night, sending the Shamrocks reeling to their third consecutive defeat, and the second straight Hoosier Crossroads Conference loss.
Orioles quarterback Cameron Misner led the hosts on three first half scoring drives, including a 20 yard scoring toss to Luke Shayotovich with nine seconds in the stanza. Shayotovich's diving circus catch gave the Orioles a 17-6 lead, and basically secured the victory.
"If they hadn't scored right before half," said Westfield head coach Jake Gilbert, "if would have been to-tally proud of our defense. We went toe-to-toe for as long as we could. They just had a little more than us, tonight."
Led by RB Sampson James, who slashed the Westfield defense for 199 yards on 30 carries, the Orioles racked up 281 yards of total offense to the Shamrocks' 215. Unfortunately for Westfield (4-4, HCC 2-3), most of their yards came after Avon (5-2, HCC 3-1) had wrested total control of the game.
James had a 30 yard touchdown scamper, but essentially was the workhorse for Avon on the ground. When it looked like the Shamrocks defense was ready to make a stand, James exploded for a big run, or quarterback Cameron Misner provided a back-breaking pass completion.
"That offense, if you give them anything they are going to capitalize. Give them a little extra space, and they are going to hurt you - they are just going to," shrugged Gilbert. "They are the best offense that I've seen since I've been in the conference. Having "23" [Froelich] out their tonight would have helped us. But that's an amazing offensive team.
"We lost to a great football team. That is a top five team in Indiana."
Westfield's offense again suffered without Nate Froelich, who is sidelined with a season ending neck injury. His roll was assumed by senior RB Koby Hauser, who although frequently stonewalled by the Avon defense, managed to smash his way for the lone Shamrocks score, gaining 60 yards on 13 car-ries.
"That's about as gutsy of a performance you'll ever ask out of a kid," said Gilbert. "You almost feel bad using him as much as we did. But that's what he wants. I'm trying not to drive him into the ground, but at the same time, he's our guy, now."
Westfield quarterback Cameron Nance led the Shamrocks on four long drives, but only one of them proved successful. Two ended in interceptions, both by Avon cornerback Kamryn Molton. The other on downs, when Westfield couldn't score late in the contest.
"We did some things well. It just wasn't quite enough," said the head coach. "I'm proud of the effort our kids gave tonight."
The Shamrocks return home next week, to face another powerful HCC opponent. "We have to continue to get better. It is time to play our best football. We haven't done that yet," said Gilbert. "Basically, we have to keep our spirits up, and get better."