Whip­pets hand Shana­han its first loss

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - SPORTS - By Peter DiGio­vanni pd­gio­vanni07@gmail.com @PeteDLN on Twit­ter

DOWN­ING­TOWN >> There have not been many smiles around the Down­ing­town West football team in the first half of the sea­son. That’s what hap­pens when a usu­ally dom­i­nant pro­gram gets off to a 1-4 start.

Things changed dra­mat­i­cally Fri­day night at Kottmeyer Sta­dium as the Whip­pets, led by a charged-up de­fense, knocked Bishop Shana­han from the un­beaten ranks with a con­vinc­ing 34-7 Ches-Mont Na­tional Di­vi­sion vic­tory that sent ev­ery­one — ex­cept those in Ea­gle green — home smil­ing.

Down­ing­town West (1-1 Ch­esMont, 2-4 over­all) scored in ev­ery quar­ter, and af­ter spot­ting the Ea­gles (2-1, 5-1) a 7-0 lead, roared back be­hind the 131 yard rush­ing per­for­mance of Michael Riddick and the re­turn from in­jury of quar­ter­back Kyle Geiser, to turn back the Ea­gles. A big hit from Wayne An­der­son on re­ceiver Bren­dan Dear­ing charged up the en­tire team and showed what kind of in­ten­sity the Whip­pets brought to the field Fri­day night.

“That hit was a tone set­ter,” An­der­son said. “It got ev­ery­body in

the hud­dle and on the side­line fired up. We played some real good teams and we know we are a good team even though we were hear­ing oth­er­wise. But we do not care about out­side peo­ple. we are play­ing for each other and we plan on go­ing on a run now.”

Shana­han started things off with a seven-play, 80yard drive to start the game. All seven plays were runs and Ea­gles quar­ter­back Nick Skul­ski fin­ished the drive by go­ing straight up the mid­dle for a 29-yard scam­per and an early 7-0 ad­van­tage and it looked like the West de­fense would im­plode as they did last week in a 48-9 loss to Coatesville.

“Our de­fense was in­vis­i­ble on that first drive,” Down­ing­town West head coach Mike Mi­lano said. “But coach (JC) Car­roll made some ad­just­ments and the kids re­ally bat­tled the rest of the way and shut them out. We have been through a lot of things so far this sea­son and the kids have stayed to­gether. Tonight, I was re­ally proud of my kids and the ef­fort they put out. It is nice to smile af­ter a game.”

West came right back on the Ea­gles af­ter the score by go­ing on a nine-play drive of its own, with Kenny Costello go­ing the fi­nal 16 yards around the right side to make it a 7-7 game af­ter one quar­ter.

The Whip­pets then as­sumed com­plete con­trol of the con­test in the sec­ond quar­ter, outscor­ing Shana­han, 17-0, and go­ing into the locker room with a 24-7 lead. Costello took a 22-yard pass from Geiser for a score and Mas­simo Bas­cardi kicked the first of his two field goals, this one from 42 yards, to make it a 17-7 game. Af­ter a Shana­han punt, Geiser threw a per­fect 58-yard touch­down strike to Cole Zapf to make it a 24-7 game at half­time. Zapf also rushed for 90 yards and was in on nu­mer­ous tack­les on de­fense.

Things got no bet­ter for the Ea­gles in the third quar­ter as a case of the drops got to the Shana­han re­ceivers. The Ea­gles dropped six Skul­ski throws and stopped any mo­men­tum they may have gained. The West de­fense held the Ea­gles to just 137 rush­ing yards and only 95 through the air, both sea­son lows for Shana­han. The Whip­pet de­fense was hit­ting any­thing that moved and hit­ting hard.

Zapf darted to the left side for a 16-yard touch­down run late in the third pe­riod af­ter Dear­ing fum­bled a punt at the Shana­han 22-yard line. Zapf’s run came on a de­lay af­ter the fum­ble and Bas­cardi kicked a 38-yard field goal to start the fourth quar­ter, and it was a re­sound­ing 34-7 vic­tory that kept the Whip­pets’ league ti­tle and play­off hopes alive.

“We know we can play good football,” Riddick said. “We scored 28 points in about five or six min­utes in our game with Perkiomen Val­ley. And tonight, af­ter Wayne laid out that re­ceiver, we just got all pumped up and took it to them. We are go­ing to play good football the rest of the sea­son.”

The loss, Shana­han’s first of the sea­son, does not re­ally hurt the Ea­gles 5A play­off hopes, as Shaana­han came into the game as the third seed in 5A. But Shana­han head coach Paul Mey­ers was an­noyed at his team’s per­for­mance.

“We were out of sync all night,’ Mey­ers said. “But give them credit. They put us out of sync. And we dropped so many passes and fum­bled the football and had six penal­ties and you are not go­ing to win like that.”

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