Young but experienced, ’Lopes are ready

Senior Alex Quinn keeps a positive attitude after suffering a knee injury during Saturday’s scrimmage that could bench him for the rest of the season. Photo by Tom Steiner for The Citizen

By JIM RUMBLE

With playoff appearances under his belt in his first six seasons at the helm with the Avonworth Antelopes football team, coach Duke Johncour will begin the 2017 campaign with a relatively young but experienced team. Expecting huge contributions and leadership from the seven seniors this year, Johncour feels confident that a lot of underclassmen will step up to play key roles as well.

"We bring back some talented young guys that we're excited about," said Johncour. "We have sophomores that played some as freshmen, and we expect them to do good things for us."

The 'Lopes were already dealt a blow when senior wide receiver/defensive back Alex Quinn suffered a knee injury in last Friday's scrimmage against the Northgate Flames and will likely be lost for the season.

Avonworth's offense will be directed by junior quarterback Derek Johncour, who saw a considerable amount of time behind center last season. Jeff Igims will line up at tailback alongside Nick Weiser at the fullback position. On the outside will be Turner Grau and Noah Clickett as the receivers and Jacob Horigan will line up as the slot receiver.

The offensive line will consist of center Patrick Gannon, flanked by left guard Jordan Rapp and right guard Jacob Jaillet. Ryan Felter and Joe Bevilacqua will handle the blocking assignments from the left and right tackle positions.

On the defensive side of the ball, Bevilacqua will line up as the nose tackle, flanked by Jaillet and Felter on the defensive line. Dmitri Bocchino and Horigan will handle the duties at outside linebacker while Weiser and Park Penrod play as the inside linebackers.

Avonworth's defensive backfield will consist of Turner and Clickett on the corners and Jax Miller along with Drew Harper at the safety positions.

The skill of the players is what Johncour described as the strength of this year's squad, who will compete again in the Three Rivers Conference.

"You can't take a night off in this conference," said Johncour.