LONDON GROVE >> The Harry S. Truman Tigers have been explosive this season. Fresh off a blowout victory in Week 1, the Tigers followed up their performance with a big 35-12 win over Avon Grove Friday night.
The Tigers’ wing-T offense proved to be too much for the Red Devils to handle.
“They were very well coached,” said Truman’s head coach Mike LaPalombara. “They gave us a different game than last week. Last week we could use our speed more and this week they really hit us hard. In a sense, they helped us develop a little bit. We needed to be hit and they just kept on coming.”
The Friday night matchup started off close. Both teams had to punt the ball on each of their opening drives and at first, the game seemed like it would be a low scoring defensive contest. That was only until late in the first quarter when Truman was able to get on the board first.
On second down with less than a minute to play in the first quarter, Truman’s quarterback Dylan Snelling found receiver Javeer Peterson on a 22-yard pass that Peterson took to the house for the first points of the game.
It didn’t take long for Avon Grove to respond. After a pass interference called on Truman gave Avon Grove another set of downs, running back Kevin Francis turned a simple short yardage play into a 39-yard touchdown run. A missed PAT would keep Avon Grove behind, 7-6.
On the ensuing drive, Snelling broke free on a designed quarterback keeper. A gain of 35 yards would set Truman up on the seven-yard line and allow running back David Akinwande to punch it in for his lone touchdown of the night.
Avon Grove continued to battle, but the offense couldn’t seem to put it together. Francis was able to pick up 106 yards on 13 carries in the first half, but after Sayyid Saunders scored his first touchdown of the night and pushed the lead to 21-6, the game was getting out of hand.
“It was my O-line and my vision. Everything was perfect,” Saunders said. “I got to see what was right and I got to get through every hole I needed to because the O-line blocked right and we did our thing. Their defense was way tougher than last week. They hit harder, they’re faster and they move around. We just came out stronger today.”
Much like the first half, the second half was all Truman. Snelling and Saunders both found the end zone again and stretched the lead even further to a 29-point deficit. A late game touchdown pass from Avon Grove’s Shane Wolford to Jordan Paone would bring the score to 35-12, but by then, there wasn’t enough time for the Red Devils to mount a comeback.
“They ran the ball and executed really well,” Avon Grove coach Harry O’Neil said. “We prepared for the wing-T and they executed. For a new staff and a new team, they executed really well. We just made too many mistakes. They won the game, but we just weren’t good enough to overcome our mistakes.”
Poulson had 142 yards of total offense while Saunders led the team with 125 yards on 10 carries and two touchdowns. Snelling was 5-for-6 with 85 yards passing and a touchdown as well as six carries for 53 yards and a rushing touchdown. David Akinwade finished the night with 16 carries for 106 yards and a touchdown.
“They’re way better than the team we played last week,” Enzo Poulson said about Avon Grove. “They’re much stronger, much faster and a lot more physical than last week. I just have to give honor to my O-line, if it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t be able to run for as many yards as I did today.”