Whip­pets out­last Blue Demons

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - SPORTS - By Neil Geoghe­gan ngeoghe­gan@21st-cen­tu­ry­media.com @NeilMGeoghe­gan on Twit­ter

KENNETT SQUARE >> The Down­ing­town West foot­ball squad needed a win – any win -- in the worst way on Fri­day at Kennett. And the Whip­pets got it done, 38-20, even though sev­eral key play­ers, in­clud­ing their start­ing quar­ter­back, went down with in­juries along the way.

Drop­ping the sea­son’s first three games would make any­body a lit­tle des­per­ate, and West sim­ply isn’t used to hav­ing to wait un­til week four to notch its ini­tial vic­tory. And with Ch­esMont Na­tional ri­val Coatesville up next, the Whip­pets could not have picked a bet­ter week to build a lit­tle mo­men­tum.

“When things aren’t go­ing well,

every­body doubts ev­ery­thing,” said Down­ing­town West head coach Mike Mi­lano. “You doubt scheme, you doubt the guys next you, and you doubt your coaches. So it’s good to get rid of some of that doubt and get bet­ter.”

The Whip­pets (1-3 over­all) raced out to a 25-point half­time lead, thanks to an elec­tri­fy­ing 90-yard kick­off re­turn by se­nior Cole Zapf, and the de­fense held the host Blue Demons to 1-for-5 on fourth downs. With se­nior run­ner Michael Riddick lead­ing the way, the West of­fense rolled up 219 rush­ing yards and ran it in for four touch­downs.

“It may sound corny, but we just said to keep on grind­ing,” Mi­lano said. “This wasn’t a (Ches-Mont) Na­tional game, but we treated this like a play­off game. Next week ev­ery­thing counts.

“I’m happy for my kids. We gave two games away ear­lier this sea­son and made enough mis­takes to beat our­selves, and then we lost to a re­ally good Neshaminy team.”

All of those lin­ger­ing doubts could have taken hold, es­pe­cially after start­ing quar­ter­back Kyle Geiser was knocked out of the game mid­way through the first half with an in­jury. But in came ju­nior Mitchell Mi­cale -- who Mi­lano called: “our lit­tle J.V. kid,” – and he wound up com­plet­ing his only two passes for 21 yards, and added 55 more yards on the ground.

“I am es­pe­cially happy for Mitchell Ma­cale,” Mi­lano said. “He stepped up.

“On his sec­ond or third snap, we were third and 18 near mid­field, and we won­dered if we should just run it and get off the field, or trust him. Well, we trusted him and he read a play out – op­tion one, op­tion two, op­tion three – and pulled it down and ran it for 33-yards. It was a big­big play.”

The bounce-back win was also im­pres­sive be­cause it came against a game Kennett squad that has ob­vi­ously shown im­prove­ment so far this sea­son. In fact, the Blue Demons out­gained West 364267.

“We have some bright spots, but we are touc­hand-go here and there,” said Kennett head coach Doug Lan­g­ley.

“West is a tough team, and we knew that. We just wanted to make sure we came in and put a good foot for­ward – and I think we did.”

With ju­nior quar­ter­back Jake Dilcher ac­count­ing for 273 yards of to­tal of­fense, the Demons (2-2 over­all) were not an easy out, although Kennett did score a pair of touch­downs in the fi­nal three min­utes of play that may have padded the sta­tis­tics a bit.

Lan­g­ley liked the way his team fin­ished the game. Mi­lano, how­ever, wasn’t thrilled with the end­ing.

“I’ve got my J.V. in and they kept their var­sity out there,” Mi­lano said. “There is a proper way to sur­ren­der, and you don’t do it with ones against twos, and on­side kicks, and try­ing to look great at the end.

“But I’m OK with it. My young kids got on the field and got some ex­pe­ri­ence.”

The play of the game came on the last play of the first quar­ter. The Blue Demons had just scored to pull within 10-6, but Zapf took the en­su­ing kick­off the dis­tance to im­me­di­ately change the com­plex­ion of the game.

“That was a de­fla­tor right there,” Lan­g­ley said.

“Any­time you get a big special team’s play like that it’s huge. In any foot­ball game at any level, those are big plays,” added Mi­lano.

“Kennett had just scored, so it was a big mo­men­tum-changer,” Zapf said about the first special teams touch­down of his ca­reer. “Every­body started to get ex­cited and we started mak­ing plays.”

Soon there­after, a big fourth down de­fen­sive stop near mid­field by the Whip­pets Evan Richard gave the West of­fense a short field. And Riddick even­tu­ally ran it in for his sec­ond of three first half touch­downs, and sud­denly the Whip­pets were in com­mand 24-6.

“We came out a lit­tle flat, but that kick re­turn got every­body go­ing. It gave us en­ergy,” said Riddick, who fin­ished with 93 tough yards on 23 car­ries.

On its next pos­ses­sion, Kennett failed to con­vert on fourth down once again, and that led to an­other Riddick scor­ing run, and a 31-6 half­time lead. Riddick also found the end zone from seven yards out to cap the game’s open­ing drive.

Myles Robin­son ac­counted for 37 yards in the Demons only scor­ing march of the first half, and the se­nior run­ner scored on a three-yard run. But the PAT was blocked. Kennett also fum­bled on its first play from scrim­mage, which led to a 42-yard field goal by Mas­simo Bis­cardi.

“We are still try­ing to im­prove on the men­tal side of it,” Lan­g­ley said. “To make sure we un­der­stand how hard we need to prac­tice and then carry that though the week into Fri­day.”

Robin­son wound up with 91 yards on 17 car­ries, and re­ceiver Kerry Tomasetti added four catches for 62 yards and a TD.

It didn’t take very long after the con­test for West’s at­ten­tion to turn to Coatesville.

“We strug­gled for three weeks and coach kept say­ing, ‘you are beat­ing your­selves,’” Riddick said. “Tonight we had dudes step up, like Mitchell Ma­cale. It feels good.

“Now we get a chance to prove to the rest in the Ches-Mont that we are still a good team.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.