Auburn Hills Avondale junior slot back Miguel Garcia eludes a tackler during an Aug. 16 scrimmage. The Yellow Jackets return 16 total starters this season.

Auburn Hills Avondale junior slot back Miguel Garcia eludes a tackler during an Aug. 16 scrimmage. The Yellow Jackets return 16 total starters this season.

Photo by Donna Agusti

Football Preview: Auburn Hills Avondale

2017 Record: 6-4

By: C & G Sports Staff | C&G Newspapers | Published July 31, 2018


Last season’s record: 6-4
League: Oakland Activities Association Blue Division
Returning starters: 16
First game: 7 p.m. Aug. 23 at Troy High

Offensive keys: 
Avondale averaged 33.4 points per contest last year, which was a program best since 2004.

There are eight starters back, however, the club must turn to a new signal-caller.

Coach Ed Couturier said he has full faith in senior Ari Dotan to be the guy.

“(Dotan) is a good all-around kid. He just has to get the ball out to the right spot without mistakes,” Couturier said. “There is some pressure on him, because replacing our quarterback is key since we have so many other spots taken care of.”

In addition to senior slot backs Derrick Hinton Jr. and Kobe Anthony, Couturier also said Avondale fans should be excited for junior running back Jamason Jodway.

“(Jodway) is a transfer that came in from South Carolina. He’s very good,” Couturier said. “We have a lot of talent at running back.”

Defensive keys: 
Avondale did surrender 24 or more points five times last season, but Couturier said the unit gained valuable experience.

“Our defense was very young last year. We have eight guys returning, which is a high number,” Couturier said. “We made some mistakes, but we also had eight interceptions as a team. We want to continue that aggressive mode on defense.”

Senior defensive lineman Gatlin Coleman, and cornerbacks Hinton and Anthony will be key leaders on defense.

“This is probably the quickest team I’ve ever had overall. We’re very, very athletic,” Couturier said. “We can put guys in positions to be successful based on that.”

That speed can also play a big part in the third part of the game according to Couturier.

“We can make things happen on special teams,” Couturier said. “That sometimes gets overlooked by a lot of teams, but it was huge for us last year. We can grab great field position with it.”

Coach’s outlook: 
“We were in a three-way tie for the Blue division last year. We want to make sure that we compete at that level again,” Couturier said. “We want to make it to the playoffs and advance after coming so close last year.”

Avondale fell 45-44 to Ortonville Brandon in the Division 3 pre-district round.

at Troy High (6-4) — 7 p.m. Aug. 23
Troy earned the program’s first playoff berth since 2009 last season. These two teams also opened last year, with the Colts earning a 48-25 victory. The overall series shows Troy with a 15-12-4 advantage.

vs. Warren Fitzgerald (7-3) — 7 p.m. Aug. 30
Fitzgerald is eyeing a fifth straight playoff berth. The Spartans have won a combined 27 contests over the last four seasons. This will be the first meeting between the two programs since 2011.

at Pontiac High (1-8) — 7 p.m. Sept. 7
A program established in 2009, Pontiac has only mustered three total victories over the last four seasons. Avondale has a 4-1 advantage in the series, winning 55-6 in Week 8 last season.

vs. Ferndale High (8-2) — 7 p.m. Sept. 14
Avondale holds a 10-8 edge in this overall series and earned a 21-13 victory in Week 3 last year. The Eagles are aiming for a third straight playoff appearance.

at Farmington High (3-6) — 7 p.m. Sept. 21
These two schools have only met twice before — in 2014 and last season. Avondale secured a 45-26 decision in Week 6 last year.

vs. Berkley High (1-8) — 7 p.m. Sept. 28
The overall series is tied at six wins each. This will be the first matchup since 2015.

vs. Royal Oak High (6-4) — 7 p.m. Oct. 5
Last season, a 6-4 record netted Royal Oak the program’s first playoff appearance since the school’s inaugural year of 2006. Avondale leads the series 4-0, including a 21-7 win in Week 5 of last year.

at Hazel Park High (6-4) — 7 p.m. Oct. 12
The Vikings earned a playoff spot last season for the first time since 2010. Last year, Hazel Park topped Avondale 24-21. The Yellow Jackets hold a 10-9 lead in the overall series.

at North Farmington (2-7) — 7 p.m. Oct. 19
Avondale bested the Raiders 47-0 in Week 4 last season. Overall, the Yellow Jackets lead the series 4-2.