By Chris Metcalf
AVON – Although no Section V football trophy headed back to Avon this fall, Braves’ head coach couldn’t have been more proud of his program.
Avon fell 20-6 to visiting Canisteo-Greenwood in last week’s Class D semifinals.
It was the third meeting between the two programs with each team winning on the road during the regular season.
Avon was in search of their fourth sectional title under Englert, who took over a lifeless program in 1998 and has since built the Braves into a consistent small-school power.
“It’s always hard for the players and coaches when the season is over,” coach Englert said. “All we wanted to do was go back to work on Saturday morning. We played Canisteo-Greenwood in two great games during the regular season. Week One we lost 12-7 in the last few seconds of the game and won 25-20 in Week Six on an 89-yard drive at the end. In this game, unfortunately, we did something we did not do much during the regular season. We had five turnovers and gave up 13 points in 53 seconds. I’m proud of this group and proud of our seniors. It did not end the way we wanted it, but these guys really came together throughout the season.”
Avon finished 6-3 on the year with all three of their losses coming against sectional finalists – two to C-G and a third to York/Pavilion.
“Every season is so different,” Englert said. “This was a fun season overall. This group really improved throughout the season. We had a very young team with just six seniors, so we had a lot of underclassmen get some good playing time. I think our seniors did a great job keeping the group together during the season as well. Chris Thompson really stepped up as a leader. I’m thankful for the kids willing to compete and buy into the system.
I feel that our schedule was really different, for example playing C-G three times in one season.”
The senior Thompson, a finalist for Section V Class D Offensive Player of the Year, stepped into a new role this fall, and according to Englert, got better and better every week.
“He stepped into a QB position and you could see his progress each week,” coach Englert said. “He will end with over 900 yards rushing and over 900 yards passing.”
Englert also mentioned his interior line that came to play every night.
“Our offensive and defensive linemen deserve a lot of credit,” Englert said. “Travis Hollada, Connor Smith, Colin Ellsworth, Brady Driscoll, Noah Boor, Kellan Schneider and Ryan Davis worked hard and were a big part of our success.”
Thompson finished his year 63-of-129 passing for 970 yards and nine TDs. He also ran for 917 yards on 113 carries and 11 more TDs. He had five different games where he ran for over 100 yards.
On the season, Thompson earned the offensive POW three different times while Wesley Farley, Remy Greenwood and Kalman Dolgos were each honored once. Greenwood was named on the defensive side.
Dolgos, a sophomore, caught 25 passes for 436 yards and five TDs while the junior Farley was a multi-weapon as he rushed for 837 yards on 150 carries with 10 TDs while also catching 16 balls for 133 yards.
On defense, Thompson also led the way with 64 tackles (36 solo), four caused fumbles and three INTs. He had 12 tackles for a loss, which also led the Braves.
Farley finished with 58 tackles while classmate Travis Hollada registered 57 stops. Greenwood added 40 stops for the Braves.
As always, Englert was thankful for the time and effort his coaching staff put forth this season.
“I would like to thank my coaching staff at all levels,” Englert said. “Connor Smith, Jim Dueppengiesser, Brian Hall, Larry Teta, Matt Bennetti, Justin Dueppengiesser, and Mike McGough. Also, Justice Fanaro, who does our film and Blake Wolfanger who does all our stats. These guys do so much for the kids and deserve a lot of credit for the time and passion they commit to this program.”
Justin Dueppengiesser and Mike McGough have been coaching with Englert for 19 years.
With only six seniors on this year’s roster, the varsity football future looks extremely bright for the 2024 season.
“We have a lot of younger players that had a lot of quality playing time and, with good numbers returning, we should be a solid team,” coach Englert said. “In the off-season we will need to hit the weight room, play in other sports, and continue football skills/drills activities. Not sure what Class D will look like next year, we only had six teams in the Federation schedule this year.”
While Englert would love to take that next step in 2024, and make it back to the sectional finals, his number one goal is to maintain three levels of football, something most small school programs have been unable to do.
“Every season’s goal is to have three levels of football and to get that block and patch,” Englert said. A special thank you to the School and Community for their support of our program.”
Lindsey Meys Photography