Consistent Antelopes have high expectations
TribLIVE Sports Videos
Duke Johncour and his Avonworth players remember all too well how last season ended. Each of the past three seasons, the Antelopes' postseason ended with a loss to nonconference rival Rochester.
“That's definitely on our minds,” Johncour said. “But they're focused on the opportunity and task at hand.”
Avonworth will start the season against Rochester (Aug. 30) before opening a tough Eastern Conference slate Sept. 6 vs. Riverview.
The Antelopes have made the playoffs the past five seasons and compiled a 43-13 record over that span, becoming one of the more consistent teams in Class A.
“We're excited for the year,” said Johncour, who is entering his third year as head coach and 13th overall with Avonworth. “Our expectations are high.”
The Antelopes are returning their top passer and rusher in sophomore Zach Chandler and junior Andrew Broadus, respectively. Chandler won the starting job in camp last year.
Senior Matt Donovan is returning from an early-season injury and could still compete for reps.
“He grew and matured with experience by leaps and bounds last year,” Johncour said of Chandler's freshman season. “He did a whale of a job. He really did a great job for us. To put any freshman in that situation is going to be tough.”
The Antelopes had one of the most balanced attacks in Class A, collecting 2,788 total yards — 1,362 rushing and 1,426 through the air.
Along the offensive front, seniors Vince Bevilacqua, Gunner Goldie and Jeff Markovich are returning starters. Senior Jesse Zubik and junior Josh Drwal are back to line up on the outside.
“We have a good group of seniors coming back that have a lot of experience,” Johncour said. “A lot played as sophomores.”
Defensively, three-year starter Dalton Day will man the middle of Avonworth's 4-4 defense, which ranked 12th in the WPIAL allowing 2,076 total yards.
“We're looking for him to do really good things for us there,” Johncour said. “Our linebacking corps is pretty solid.”
Drwal and Zubik will see time at cornerback, and starter Brad Mankey — who led the team with four interceptions last year — returns at safety.
“We got a lot of returning experience,” Johncour said. “We get our shot Week 1 (to prove ourselves).”
“We're looking forward to working together and see how far we can take this thing.”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Talented backfield to key Brownsville attack
- Upper St. Clair’s inexperienced lineup shows potential
- In 5th year, OLSH chasing 1st playoff berth
- Led by top QB, South Fayette offense among WPIAL’s all-time best
- Burgettstown out to end losing streak
- Gorman: Life lessons from high school football
- Chartiers-Houston faces tough early-season schedule
- Clairton offense shows new look
- Class A breakdown: WPIAL realignment shakes up conferences
- Sto-Rox starting from scratch in Class AA
- Class AAA breakdown: With perennial contender Gateway joining Greater Allegheny, trend of championship Parkway teams could be challenged