‘Lopes lose 57-42 against McGuffey

By JIM RUMBLE

It was a high scoring affair when the Avonworth Antelopes football team traveled to McGuffey for a non conference game last Friday.

After taking a 28-17 lead into the third quarter, the 'Lopes were outscored 40-14 in the second half as they fell to the Highlanders 57-42.

"They ran the ball well, and we didn't stop them," said Avonworth coach Duke Johncour. "We committed a couple of turnovers late, and that was the difference."

McGuffey's bread and butter was their tough running attack which accounted for 437 yards on the ground including 5 touchdowns. Avonworth remained balanced on offense as Derek Johncour threw for 247 yards and a touchdown, and Jax Miller rushed for 149 yards and 5 scores.

Avonworth got on the scoreboard taking the game opening drive 54 yards in eight plays for a touchdown. The big play was a 35-yard pass completion from Johncour to Miller, who juked his way along the sideline and into the end zone. Jason Novosel added the extra point kick, and the 'Lopes led 7-0 with 7:45 to play in the first quarter.

McGuffey responded with a 12 play possession that was capped by a 9-yard touchdown run followed by the extra point and a 7-7 score.

Avonworth's next drive began at their 47 and was highlighted by receptions of 15 and 12 yards by Drew Harper and a catch by Ethan Syam of 12 yards that put the ball at the Highlanders 7. Miller ran into the end zone from there, and Novosel made good on the kick that followed to put the 'Lopes back in front 14-7 with a little over a minute gone by in the second quarter.

The only punt in the game came after a three-and-out by the Highlanders on their next possession, but the kick was short which allowed the Antelopes to start on offense at the McGuffey 40.

Avonworth was able to convert a fourth down and six situation with a 9-yard catch by Turner Grau and followed with a 12-yard completion from Johncour to Syam at the Highlander 12. Miller scored on a 12-yard run on first down and Novosel booted the extra point to give the 'Lopes a 21-7 lead with 9:46 left in the second quarter.

McGuffey struck quickly, completing a 37-yard pass on the ensuing possession and followed with a 32-yard run for the touchdown. The extra point was good, so Avonworth's lead was now 21-14.

Avonworth moved 63 yards in four plays for a touchdown on their next drive. Key receptions by Harper and Weiser moved the ball to the McGuffey 41 before Miller ran the ball off the left side and weaved across the flow of the defense to complete a 41-yard touchdown run. Novosel's kick followed and the 'Lopes upped the lead to 28-14 with 3:06 remaining in the second quarter.

The Highlanders moved from their 15 to the Antelopes 10, but the drive produced a 27-yard field goal that would send the teams to halftime with Avonworth up 28-17.

McGuffey opened the third quarter with a drive that moved 75 yards for a score. The big play came on first down with a 54-yard run, and the Highlanders also benefitted from a pass interference penalty that put the ball at the Antelopes 11. A first down run got into the end zone but, a run for the 2-point conversion failed and the 'Lopes led 28-23.

Avonworth responded with a 63-yard drive that was powered by Miller runs for their next score. A 36-yard run by Miller preceded his 2-yard TD run and Novosel's kick followed to put the 'Lopes up 35-23 with 7:20 left in the third quarter.

The Highlanders were not about to give in as their second pass of the game picked up 33 yards on first down, to put the ball at the 'Lopes 38. McGuffey went back to their ground game, completing the drive with a 1-yard TD run and adding the extra point kick to trail 35-30 with 4:11 left in the third quarter.

Things were about to change when a sack of Johncour resulted in a fumble that was recovered by McGuffey at the Avonworth 37. The Highlanders converted a fourth down situation to keep their drive going and finished it off with a 4-yard touchdown run. A pass completion on the 2-point try came up short of the end zone, but the Highlanders moved in front 36-35 just 45 seconds into the fourth quarter.

Avonworth's next possession ended with an interception on the second play of the series that was returned 22 yards to the Antelopes 5. McGuffey ran the ball into the end zone on first down then completed a pass for the 2-point conversion to move ahead 44-35.

Avonworth responded with a 55-yard drive the was capped by Miller's 8-yard TD run and Novosel added the extra point kick that had the Antelopes trailing 44-42 with 7:45 remaining in the game.

That was as close as it would get. McGuffey answered with an 80-yard touchdown run and added another touchdown late in the quarter to put the final score at 57-42.