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Vikings running back Austin Robbie frees himself from the grasp of TJCA tackler Caleb Sundell as
teammates Cody Clawson and Tre Jackson look on. The Avery senior scored on a 73-yard punt
return to account for the only AHS points in last week's game. Photo by Skip Sickler

Originally published: 2012-09-26 12:52:36
Last modified: 2012-09-26 12:54:46

Homecoming Hiccup

Jamie Shell / (

On a sunny and warm Friday afternoon, Sept. 21, hundreds of residents from across Avery County turned out for the annual Homecoming parade down Main Street in Newland. Smiles glistened from young and old alike as the 2012 Homecoming Court, the previous year's Homecoming queen and king and various dignitaries were honored. Floats representing local businesses and boosters, as well as various sports teams, snaked through Newland. Although the day went off without a hitch, there was one Homecoming hiccup – a Vikings football loss to the Gryphons.

Vikings continue offensive struggles in loss to unbeaten Gryphons In a surprisingly defensive struggle at MacDonald Stadium last Friday, Sept. 21, the Avery Vikings failed to manage an offensive score in losing its fourth consecutive game of the season, falling on Homecoming by a 13-6 final score to the Thomas Jefferson Academy Gryphons.

The Vikings managed only 174 yards in total offense for the contest, compared to 392 for TJCA. Mac Martin was a thorn in Avery's side the entire evening, rushing 28 times for 158 yards and both TJCA touchdowns, while completing 11-of-15 passes for 154 yards. Two of Martin's four incomplete passes were interceptions by Avery's Ty Polsgrove, the lone bump on an otherwise smooth road of success.

Luke Childress paced the Vikings offense, carrying the football 15 times for 132 yards. The Vikings netted just 33 passing yards with three TJCA interceptions of quarterback Tre Jackson. Austin Robbie led the Avery defense with 9.5 tackles.

Avery fired the opening salvo of the contest as Robbie received a TJCA punt, made his way across the width of the football field and dashed down the Avery sideline 73 yards for a touchdown with 4:12 to play in the first quarter. The extra point failed, but the Big Red held a 6-0 advantage.

TJCA had an opportunity to tie the game late in the first half, but the Vikings defense, which never surrendered a big-yardage gain the entire contest, stood tall to keep the Gryphons out of the end zone as the first half clock expired.

Avery High School celebrated Homecoming during halftime festivities, as seniors Erika Hughes and Bill Lien were named Homecoming Queen and King, respectively.

Following an Avery turnover to open the third quarter, TJCA amassed the most impressive drive of the game by either club, an 11-play, 92-yard march that consumed 5:51 off the clock and was capped by a Martin one-yard jaunt. The PAT failed, leaving the game knotted at 6-6.

The teams traded possessions and interceptions until the Gryphons scored its second touchdown, another one-yard Martin plunge with 9:11 to play in the game. TJCA converted the extra point for the 13-6 lead.

Avery failed to move the football with its final two drives of the game, punting once and failing to convert on a fourth-down play with less than two minutes to play.

TJCA remains unbeaten at 6-0, while AHS fell to 2-4, with an 0-2 record in conference play. The Vikings hosts Hendersonville at 7:30 p.m. this Friday, Sept. 28.