Ellis County football previews: Avalon builds a winning tradition
Eagles bring back core of returning starters, but development will be key
AVALON — The Avalon Eagles’ historic 2019 season was a tough act to follow. But even with a dip in overall record last fall, the Eagles managed to find their way back into the playoffs and maintain a hard-won competitive tradition.
After a 33-18 victory over South Ellis County rival Milford on Oct. 16, head coach Malcolm Cole’s Eagles finished in a three-way tiebreaker for second place in District 11-1A and advanced to the playoffs on points.
With familiar names such as Erick Padron, Colby Ornelas, Jesse Morones and Jake Ozymy returning, the Eagles have a solid core to build around. But the rest of the team, Cole said, will be inexperienced.
“We will put some kids on the field to learn on the fly,” Cole said. “Leadership and development of role players will be key.”
Padron, still only a sophomore, returns at quarterback after a strong debut in which he passed for 1,015 yards and 21 touchdowns against only six interceptions. Carrying on a family tradition started by older brother Miguel, Padron was also Avalon’s leading rusher with 1,084 yards and 17 TDs.
Ornelas added 427 rushing yards and eight touchdowns last season, and Morones, a senior, contributed 235 receiving yards and a score. Ozymy’s offensive time was limited as a freshman, but he added 91 receiving yards and a TD.
Joining the offensive mix will be Waco Johnson in the backfield and Shawn McEwen at receiver.
On defense, Morones returns after recording 58 tackles as a junior, and will be joined by defensive line mate Gabriel Pacheco. Jesus Aguilar and Roman Palacios will join the veteran pair up front.
Other than Cornelas returning to the secondary, the rest of the Eagles’ defense is still being decided in two-a-days. Josh Perez is a newcomer who is being penciled in at linebacker.
After Friday’s scheduled scrimmage at Coolidge and next Thursday’s scrimmage at home against Morgan, the Eagles will open the season at home on Aug. 27 with a stiff test against Abbott, the team that Avalon ran into in the bi-district round last fall.
Following road games at Iredell and Penelope, the Eagles will enjoy a homestand of four straight games, including homecoming Oct. 1 against Gholson and the district opener Oct. 8 against Covington.
District 11-1A (I): Avalon Eagles
Head coach: Malcolm Cole (7th year at school and overall, 40-24)
2020 record: 4-6, 2-2
Returning lettermen: 7
Returning starters: 4 offensive, 3 defensive