Antelopes settle down for 42-20 conference win

Avonworth’s Jamal Hughley reaches for the end zone during last Friday’s season opener at home. The Antelopes overcame some early jitters to walk away with a 42-20 conference win over Chartiers Houston. Photo by Tom Steiner for The Citizen

By JIM RUMBLE

Opening the season at home possibly with some early game jitters the Avonworth football team was able to overcome some setbacks as they cruised to a 42-20 conference win over Chartiers-Houston.

"We were able to come out and execute some of the plays we wanted to execute and that was real good," said coach Duke Johncour.

The 'Lopes were led by quarterback Zach Chandler who threw for 325 yards and three TD passes in the first half alone.

"He had a really good half," said Johncour.

Jamal Hughley was on the receiving end of most of those passes, including three TDs that came on six receptions for 152 yards.

Garrett Day had a good night as well with four catches for 75 yards.

Avonworth had a chance to get on the board first after limiting the Buccaneers to a three and out possession to start the game.
Following a short punt on fourth down and a 13 yard return by Day, the Antelope offense set up shop at the Chartiers-Houston 33.
Chandler's 23 yard completion to Hughley followed by Kevin Simpson's 5 yard run moved the ball to the four yard line but the possession ended when kicker Cole Pappas's attempt from 30 yards out missed slightly wide of the right upright.
Avonworth's next possession ended with a fumble that was recovered by the Buccaneers on the 'Lopes' 41.

Chartiers-Houston struck quickly on first down with a touchdown pass down the left side followed by the extra point kick to claim a 7-0 lead with 4:31 left in the opening quarter.

Avonworth was able to respond when their next drive produced a touchdown.

Highlighting the drive were receptions by Day of 25 and 19 yards but the clincher was Chandler's 19 yard TD pass to Hughley that was followed up by Pappas' extra point kick to tie the teams at 7-7 near the end of the first quarter.

The 'Lopes defense forced a punt by the Buccaneers to close their ensuing possession but Hughley's 28 yard return ended with a fumble that put Chartiers-Houston back on offense.

The Antelopes were able to come away big defensively when Alex Quinn's interception put Avonworth back on offense at the Buccaneers 35.
A false start penalty put the 'Lopes offense back five yards before Chandler completed passes of nine yards to Hughley and 22 yards to Day to reach the Chartiers-Houston 39.

Chandler then faked a short sideline pass before delivering a strike to a wide open Hughley deep down the left side that resulted in a touchdown.

Pappas' kick followed to give the Antelopes the lead at 14-7 with a little under three minutes gone by in the second quarter.

Avonworth's assault through the air continued on their next possession when Chandler hooked up with Hughley for a 57-yard TD followed by Pappas kick putting the 'Lopes in front 21-7.

A 60-yard reception by Kurt Niklaus on the next Antelopes drive set up a 4 yard touchdown run by Simpson and with the kick by Pappas that followed Avonworth was able to take a 28-7 lead into halftime.

The teams traded possessions to start the third quarter when the Antelopes defense got in on the scoring act.

Chartiers-Houston's quarterback was sacked by linebacker Chris Stanley and when the ball came loose, linebacker Matt Robbibaro picked it up and rambled 57 yards for a touchdown.

The kick by Pappas followed giving the 'Lopes a commanding 35-7 lead.

The Buccaneers bounced back when they followed with a 73 yard touchdown and extra point that cut the Antelopes lead to 35-14.

Avonworth received good field position following an onside kick attempt by Chartiers-Houston that started the Antelopes offense on their 45.

The 'Lopes changed their offensive approach with a steady dose of runs by Simpson who culminated the drive with a 6-yard touchdown run.

The extra point kick by Pappas had Avonworth leading 42-14 with 4:13 left in the third quarter.

Brandon Cleary followed with a fumble recovery deep in Buccaneers territory but Avonworth's ensuing drive on offense never materialized.

With mostly back-up players on the field, Chartiers-Houston culminated a long 14-play drive with a touchdown to put the final score at 42-20.

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