Avonworth proves to be too much for Blue Devils

| Friday, Sept. 13, 2013, 11:33 p.m.

Despite another loss Friday night, Leechburg coach Mark George was pleased with his team's performance.

“I think we played the first part of the game. I think the score was evident. We played some pretty good defense at the beginning of the game, but we have to play all 48 minutes,” George said. “They're getting there, but we didn't show it tonight. Not for 48 minutes.”

Leechburg played well early in a 42-7 loss to Eastern Conference opponent Avonworth at Veterans Memorial Field.

Avonworth (3-0, 2-0) came in ranked No. 7 in Class A in the Trib Total Medial rankings.

After an apparent fumble on the opening kickoff was given back to Leechburg (0-3, 0-2) after forward progress had been ruled stopped, senior running back Kris Smith put the Blue Devils in scoring position.

Smith took an inside run 60 yards to the Avonworth 14-yard line.

Leechburg was unable to convert the drive into points, though, turning the ball over on downs four plays later. It demonstrated the defensive struggle the first quarter was.

Smith gained 80 yards on 11 carries for the night.

“We really worked the hard on defense this week,” George said. “We know that (Avonworth runs) multiple sets. We know they're very talented and have a lot of speed. We tried to get them to step up their game defensively, and I thought they did.”

The teams traded four-and-outs before Avonworth running back Moses Giles scored late in the first quarter.

Avonworth capped an 11-play drive, kept alive by a 15-yard face mask penalty on a third-and-7, with a 2-yard dive by Giles.

Giles rushed for 95 yards on 19 carries and scored two more times, on runs of 27 and 1 yards.

“(Leechburg) had seven in the box all night. It's tough to run against that look,” Avonworth coach Duke Joncour said. “He had some good runs. They're kids played hard. They played tough.”

Leechburg took just nine seconds to respond.

Junior Quinten Wolfgang tilted momentum in Leechburg's favor, returning the ensuing kickoff 75 yards to tie it 7-7.

Avonworth broke the game open in the second and third quarters.

Senior receiver Jesse Zubik caught two passes from sophomore quarterback Zach Chandler, one from 8 yards out, the other from 47.

Chandler threw for 161 yards on 9-of-18 passing.

Junior defensive back Josh Drawl made a juggling interception along the sidelines before returning the ball 30 yards for a score.

Dave Yohe is a freelance writer.

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