Cougars splash past War­riors

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - SPORTS - By Peter DiGio­vanni pdi­gio­ @PeteDLN on Twit­ter

DOWNINGTOWN >> Satur­day night, at a damp, rainy Kottmeyer Sta­dium, the Downingtown East foot­ball team played a very com­plete 48 min­utes of foot­ball.

Ju­nior quar­ter­back Bryce Lauletta threw for a ca­reer-high 347 yards and three touch­downs, and the de­fense held West Ch­ester Hen­der­son to just 94 to­tal yards of of­fense as it added up to a con­vinc­ing 28-7 Ches-Mont League Na­tional Divi­sion tri­umph.

Downingtown East (2-0, Ch­esMont, 5-1 over­all) got big of­fen­sive games from Jeremy Jen­nings, who hauled in a 72-yard touch­down pass from Lauletta in the sec­ond pe­riod, and Ethan Har­ris, who hauled in nine passes for 130 yards, and a touch­down. Throw in the 157 rush­ing yards from se­nior Dan Li­au­datis and their were enough stars to go around.

“Bryce is a com­plete quar­ter­back,” Downingtown East head coach Mike Matta said. “His brother, Trey, played at Buck­nell. His brother, Kyle, is play­ing at Rich­mond and his fa­ther played at the Naval Acad­emy. He is bred to be a quar­ter­back and the rea­son peo­ple don’t know more about him is that we don’t go around brag­ging about him. He threw for 347 yards and he had at least two passes dropped, or he would have had a big­ger night.”

Lauletta fin­ished a typ­i­cal Downingtown East drive in the first pe­riod, hit­ting Har­ris with a four-yard toss for a 7-0 lead over the War­riors (0-3, 3-3). The pass cul­mi­nated a 14-play, 80-yard drive that feared a lot of Li­au­datis bang­ing on the War­riors’ front wall. The se­nior car­ried the ball 33 times on the night and moved the chains for the Cougars, who amassed 24 first downs.

Hen­der­son got on the score-

“I sort of read the quar­ter­back’s eyes. I saw the re­ceiver go to­wards the side­line, and I sort of jumped the route and read the quar­ter­back and just made a play on the ball.” — Downingtown East’s Jeremy Jen­nings

board af­ter the Cougars botched a punt snap deep in their own ter­ri­tory. Hen­der­son fell on the ball at the eight-yard line. Three plays later, C.J. Pre­ston burst around the left side for a three-yard TD run and a 7-7 tie.

But, the Cougars shut out the War­riors from there, ha­rass­ing quar­ter­back Joe Saulino into a 6-29 pass­ing night, with one in­ter­cep­tion. That pick came from Jen­nings, who jumped a route and picked off the pass at the East 40.

“I sort of read the quar­ter­back’s eyes,” Jen­nings said. “I saw the re­ceiver go to­wards the side­line, and I sort of jumped the route and read the quar­ter­back and just made a play on the ball.”

Downingtown East only took four plays to get into the end zone, a long Lauletta to Har­ris pass play set up Lauletta to sneak in from the one for a 20-7 lead at half­time.

Jen­nings had a big half, with a 72-yard catch for a score, an in­ter­cep­tion and two pass breakups.

“I like play­ing of­fense, but to tell you the truth, I am more of a de­fense guy,” he said. “That is my game, and I like it bet­ter.”

Hen­der­son punted the ball 11 times on the night, a sign of the dom­i­nance of the Cougars de­fense. Early in the third pe­riod af­ter a Hen­der­son three-and-out, the Cougars took a punt at their 42. Four plays later, Lauletta fired a 43-yard strike to a streak­ing Noah Hahn over the mid­dle for a score, and af­ter the two­point con­ver­sion, it wasa 28-7.

Downingtown East has now al­lowed a measly 19 points in its last three wins, and re­ceived an­other big game from Will Keily, who had eight tack­les.

Hen­der­son head coach Steve Mit­ten was very im­pressed.

“I thought last year they had the best de­fense in the league,” Mit­ten said. “But, this year’s de­fense is as ad­ver­tised. They are good up front and strong on the out­side. But, our kids played hard and played well in spots. We hope we can build on this and have it carry over the rest of the sea­son.”

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