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District football play begins this week, and the Ava Bears will be traveling to Eldon tonight (Thursday) for a first-ever meeting with the Mustangs.
This is the first year for a new district process in which teams are seeded in an eight-team bracket.
Ava finished the season’s nine-game schedule as the No. 6 seed behind Rogersville. Ava’s Coach Dan Swofford appealed the seeding to the state and the appeal was honored, because Ava had defeated Rogersville in head-to-head play earlier this year.
As the No. 5 seed the Bears are playing No. 4 Eldon. Had the Bears remained No. 6 they would have played No. 3 Salem, from the SCA. The Bears lost to Salem, 23-20 on Sept. 21, at Salem. Had the two teams met again, Ava would again have traveled to Salem for the contest.
If the Bears can defeat Eldon on Thursday night, their next opponent would likely be the No. 1 seed, Springfield Catholic, which is playing No. 8 Buffalo on Thursday night. That game would be played at Catholic on Halloween night, Wednesday, Oct. 31.
What we’ve learned about Eldon is that they are predominantly a running team led by Raymond Kwok, described as a “perfect wing-T fullback.”
Tom Collins, sports writer for the Eldon Advertiser, said of Kwok, “He’s not the biggest, not the strongest and not the fastest”, but he apparently gets the job done.
Leading rusher is senior Sheyne Stafford who has carried for 1,415 yards this year, and has caught 15 passes for 167 yards, and one touchdown.
Running the offense is junior quarterback Wyatt Greenwalt, a first-year starter who is very mobile and has rushed for two touchdowns this season.
Eldon is playing in a brand new stadium this year on the north side of town, next to the middle school.
All teams in Class 3, District 3, are playing their district games tonight (Thursday) so the winners will have an additional day to prepare for the next round of play on Wednesday night.
This worked out well for Ava since students were being dismissed at noon Thursday for parent-teacher conferences anyway, and there is no school at Ava on Friday.