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Avella hoping to find new beginning in Tri-County South

| Thursday, Aug. 23, 2012, 6:54 p.m.

A new conference could pump life into Avella.

This season, the Eagles will switch from the Black Hills to the Tri-County South Conference, where they have the chance to put last year's winless season in the past with a fresh start.

Since 2003, Avella has only won five games.

“This conference gives us a better chance to compete,” second-year coach Ryan Cecchini said. “We get to play schools that are our size. We should be able to be a lot more competitive this year.”

But it isn't just the conference. Cecchini believes that with nine returning players on both offense and defense, Avella has the makings of a better team. This includes junior Zach Thomas, a wide receiver and defensive back, who stood out with 21 catches, 385 yards and three touchdowns.

“Last year, we had such a young team,” he said. “The last five games of the year, we only suited up one senior and two juniors. The rest of the kids that played were all freshman and sophomores.”

Win or lose, changes are in store for Avella.

“This year, they're all a year older, they've all grown, they've gained weight,” Cecchini said. “There's a general air of enthusiasm that they haven't had in a long time.”

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