Pro­posed change would shuf­fle up Ch­esco teams

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - SPORTS - Peter DiGio­vanni Colum­nist

With the foot­ball season al­ready four weeks old, peo­ple around the area are al­ready think­ing about which teams will make the district play­offs and where the teams will be seeded. This may be the least season for the cur­rent align­ment, as the District 1 foot­ball steer­ing com­mit­tee will vote Oct. 12 on a new for­mat that will do away with leagues and group the District 1 schools ge­o­graph­i­cally and by size of en­roll­ment.

There have been mixed re­ac­tions around the district to the new pro­posal, and there are ques­tions whether the new for­mat, in its presently pro­posed form, will pass the vote on Oct. 12. But this is how the Chester County teams would be grouped for the 2017 season.

There will be four di­vi­sions in both 6A and 5a — North, East, South and West — with the top three teams in each re­gion qual­i­fy­ing for the play­offs along with one wild card team from each

re­gion.

In 6A, the area schools in the West bracket would be Downingtown East, Downingtown West, Coatesville, Boyertown, Methacton, Spring-Ford, Owen J. Roberts and Perkiomen Val­ley. This would put the three Ches-Mont teams in ar­guably the tough­est bracket in the district, as both SpringFord and Perkiomen Val­ley have elevated their pro­grams in re­cent years to be at or near the top of the district.

Avon Grove would be grouped in the ar­guably eas­ier South bracket along with Conestoga, Haver­ford, Up­per Darby, Gar­net Val­ley, Ri­d­ley, Nor­ris­town, Penn Wood and Ri­d­ley. There would be a lot of travel for the Red Devils for road games at Nor­ris­town, or Delaware County schools like Penn Wood and Up­per Darby.

The 5A West bracket would ba­si­cally be a Ch­esMont League bracket with just 5A schools. West Chester Rustin, West Chester East, West Chester Hen­der­son,

Bishop Shana­han, Octorara, Ox­ford, Ken­nett and Unionville com­prise the 5A West bracket, which would re­sem­ble the old South­ern Chester County League plus Shana­han and the West Chester schools.

The new for­mat is very fluid, but this align­ment of teams is what the steer­ing com­mit­tee will be vot­ing on in Oc­to­ber and it ap­pears that some new con­fig­u­ra­tion — if not this one — will go into ef­fect for the 2017 season, be­cause the district wants to have 6A schools play 6A schools and 5A teams com­pete with 5A teams for play­off point pur­poses. The for­mat will also do away with games like SpringFord vs. Wil­son West Lawn and Coatesville vs. Cum­ber­land Val­ley, as the the non­league games must be played with other District 1 schools. Stay tuned.

*** This past week­end of foot­ball ac­tion saw Bisho Shana­han pass a ma­jor test by down­ing West Chester East, 31-21, in a game the Ea­gles trailed 14-6 in the first half. It was the first time Shana­han has trailed this season, and the Ea­gles came roar­ing back for the win.

Quar­ter­back Nick Skul­ski ran and threw for over 100 yards and the Ea­gles churned out 260 yards on the ground. The Ea­gles and Sun Val­ley are the two re­main­ing un­de­feated teams in the Ches-Mont League at 4-0.

*** Coatesville knocked West Chester Hen­der­son from the un­beaten ranks with a re­sound­ing 41-14 past­ing of the War­riors and fresh­man quar­ter­back Ricky Ortega did his best Troy Aik­man im­per­son­ation as he com­pleted 11 of his 13 passes a week after go­ing 14 of 16 against Coun­cil Rock North. Coatesville will need Ortega’s ac­cu­racy again this week as Downingtown West in­vades Red Raider Sta­dium.

Downingtown East is known as a tough, run­ning, grind it out team, but se­nior re­ceiver Ethan Har­ris is giv­ing the Cougars a big play threat. Har­ris caught three touch­down passes from quar­ter­back Bryce Lauletta in the Cougars’ 35-7 win over Avon Grove on Fri­day. That’s four touch­down re­cep­tions in two weeks for the speedy Har­ris, who is also a threat at re­turn­ing kick­offs and punts.

*** At half­time of the St. Jospeh’s Prep-Arch­bishop Wood game, Wood run­ning back Mark Webb was fea­tured in a video an­nounc­ing he will play col­lege foot­ball at the Univer­sity of Ge­or­gia, where he will join his cousin, St. Joe’s Prep back D’an­dre Swift. Webb is a fan­tas­tic player, but do we re­ally need a video to an­nounce a col­lege choice? This is high school, and can’t you check your ego un­til you reach the col­le­giate level?

DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA FILE

Nate Jones and Avon Grove would have plenty of long bus rides un­der a pro­posed re­align­ment plan in District 1.

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