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Originally published: 2012-09-19 15:09:46
Last modified: 2012-09-19 15:09:46

Six turnovers and Owen rushing attack send Vikings to third straight loss

Justin Grimes / (

Avery entered last week’s game at Owen looking forward to facing a conference foe after a pair of defeats against 4A sized competition the previous two weeks. A hungry Homecoming opponent, however, proved too tough a hill to climb for the Big Red. Owen broke open a scoreless first half with its ground game and forced six AHS turnovers despite committing five turnovers of its own in handing AHS a 21-6 loss.
Avery caught its first break of the game when a Tre Jackson punt was fumbled by kick returner Drew Brown and recovered by the Vikings. A short time later, however, the Vikings returned the favor as a Jackson pass was picked off by Owen’s Dante Brown to kill the scoring opportunity.
The teams remained scoreless through the first half, as both defenses allowed yards but made plays when needed. In fact, the final five combined possessions in the second quarter ended in turnovers and just 76 combined yards in total offense was gained between the teams.
Following halftime Homecoming ceremonies, Owen seized momentum as its running backs began to find holes in what was a stingy Vikings defensive unit. Sophomore running back Jager Gardner scored the game’s first points in capping Owen’s first offensive drive of the half, a seven-play, 43-yard possession to spot the Warhorses a 6-0 advantage with 9:09 remaining in the third period.
Avery turned out to be its own worst enemy for much of the night. Looking to answer Owen’s score, an interception quelled its first series of the half. The Vikings defense turned Owen away on a fourth-down conversion attempt and recovered a second dropped punt by the Warhorses, but a fumble and interception prevented AHS from getting on the scoreboard.
The Warhorses pieced together the best scoring drive of the game for either team in the half, a seven-play, 80-yard drive, culminating with a seven-yard touchdown gallop from fullback Cole Leighton for a 14-0 lead with 11:07 remaining in the game.Avery finally capitalized on an Owen turnover as, following a recovered fumble, the Vikings immediately struck with a 52-yard touchdown pass from Jackson to wide receiver Ty Polsgrove, cutting Owen’s lead to 14-6 with 8:52 to play.
Owen answered the Vikings score with ten consecutive running plays to cover 65 yards. The final play, a 12-yard scamper by Gardner, found the end zone for a 21-6 Warhorses lead with only 3:11 left on the game clock.
The final AHS drive of the game was halted as Jackson threw his fourth interception of the contest. Owen ran out the remaining seconds to seal its second win of the 2012 season.
Luke Childress led Avery rushers with 41 yards, while Polsgrove led the Vikings with 10.5 tackles. Gardner rushed 20 times for 161 yards with two touchdowns to lead the Warhorses.
Avery hosts its own Homecoming this Friday, Sept. 21, when the unbeaten Thomas Jefferson Gryphons come to MacDonald Stadium. Kickoff is slated for 7:30 p.m.