Murphy, Hahn lead Avon over Knights

ELLINGTON- James Murphy and Noah Hahn were too much for the Ellington/Somers Knights to handle Saturday as the Avon Falcons ended their season with a 30-13 win on the road.

“We thought we had a good game plan for slowing down Jimmy Murphy, but he’s a heck of a player,” Ellington head coach Sean Byrne said of Avon’s running back and defensive standout.

Murphy gives all credit to his teammates, “It was a team effort, and I did my 1/11th.  I did what I could do.”

Of course, his 14 carries for 86-yards and 2 touchdowns helped the Falcons more than the modest senior would like to admit.  Murphy replaced Gatorade Player of the Year Colin Moore at the running back position, and did an impressive job filling Moore’s shoes this year.

As for Murphy’s teammate, quarterback Noah Hahn, not many were sure what to expect coming into this season.  Hahn threw only three passes last season as a backup.

“Noah Hahn was the most pleasant surprise all year long,” Avon head coach James Caouette said of his quarterback.  “He was a true leader on offense.”

Hanh and Murphy’s offense got things going on the first drive of the game.  The Falcons moved the ball downfield with a big pass from Hahn to receiver Justin Reichler, and were helped by back-to-back pass interference penalties on the Knights to get the ball on the six-yard line.  Stephen Griffin then ran the ball in for the first points of the game.

After an Avon field goal, the Falcons would add seven more in the first quarter following a 20-yd touchdown pass from Hanh to Murphy to give the Falcons a 17-0 lead.

“We got in there early and that opened up the passing for us later in the game,” Hahn said of the Falcon’s game plan, adding, “This group is great.  We never quit.”

Hahn threw another touchdown pass in the first half, this time to Reichler with 6:14 remaining in the second quarter to bring the lead to 23-0.  Hahn would finish 10-17 for 185-yards with 2 touchdowns.

Avon would not have been able to take a 23- point lead into the half without strong play from its defense.  The Falcons, led by Murphy, were able to shutdown Ellington’s star quarterback Joe Leslie.  Avon held Leslie to 3-16 passing for only 66-yards, and intercepted him three times.

“We were confused up front,” Byrne said of Ellington’s struggles with the Falcons defense, “It just didn’t go our way today.”

The Knights came out attacking in the second half, however, first with a 60-yard kickoff return from Mark Hickman to give Ellington great starting field position, and then with a 22-yard touchdown run from Zachary Luginbuhl on the following possession to bring the score to 23-7.  The Knights were then able to recover an on-side kick, but would come up empty in the ensuing possession.

“The second half we couldn’t get anything going on offense,” Caouette said of his Avon team which was stopped by the Knights defense to begin the second half.  “They came out and hit us in the mouth.”

With the Falcons’ offense unable to score, James Murphy decided it was time for the defense to help Avon expand their lead.

Murphy recovered an Ellington fumble in the end zone for a touchdown, giving The Falcons a 30-7 lead in the fourth quarter.

With the game out of reach for the Knights, Ellington’s Christian Rider was able to add a 5-yard touchdown run, bringing the score to 30-13, where it would stand at the game’s end.

With the win, the Falcons finished their season 8-3, losing three games by a total of seven points.  Unfortunately for Avon, they will not return to the postseason.

“As a first year coach I’m very lucky to have a group of kids like this,” Caouette said of the team he inherited.

The Knights fell to an even 5-5, but will have a chance to finish the season with a winning record when they take on Coventry/Windham Tech/Bolton Wednesday night.

For more photos from the game click HERE.







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