Whippets, Knights breathe new life into campaigns
Some very interesting things came out of Week 6 of the football season, but I think two of the biggest were a pair of redemption wins by Downingtown West and West Chester Rustin, two programs that are usually at or near the top of the district but got off to 1-4 starts.
Both kept their flickering playoff hopes alive, but maybe more importantly, showed the pride and character of their coaching staffs and the kids in the two programs.
The Whippets ushered Bishop Shanahan out of the unbeaten ranks with a convincing 38-7 win, thanks largely to the Whippet defense. West, which had given up a ton of points this season, held the Eagles to just seven points, and blanked Shanahan after the first drive of the game.
There has been some ugliness coming from the stands this season at Downingtown West games, and some were even questioning head coach Mike Milano, which is totally ludicrous because the Whippet boss has long been one of the best coaches in District 1.
The Whippets took it to Shanahan physically and showed the rest of the Ches-Mont League they are in for a fight when the Whippets come calling on their schedule. As far as playoff hopes, nobody at West will talk about such things, but Downingtown West should be favored in its next three games, which would put them at 5-4 going into the big rivalry game with Downingtown East. A win over the Cougars would put the Whippets at 6-4 and that may be enough to get West in the 6A dance because of the points accumulated during their brutal nonleague schedule.
West Chester Rustin got off to a 1-4 start as well, and it was the way Rustin lost games that had people puzzled. Golden Knights head coach Mike St. Clair and his teams have always been physical, disciplined squads that come right at you and beat you at the point of attack. But, penalties and turnovers ruled the day early in the season for the Knights, especially in the red zone. 1. DOWNINGTOWN EAST 2. COATESVILLE 3. MALVERN PREP 4. DOWNINGTOWN WEST
Friday night at Great Valley, Rustin came away with a hard-fought 3127 win over a very explosive Great Valley club. Rustin did it the old Golden Knights way, running the football effectively with Brandon Frazier rushing for 233 yards. Frazier has more than filled the void left by Ty Pringle, who has not played in the last three games. Kevin Sweeney added 65 more yards and the Golden Knights had to have a goal line stand at the end of the game with Great Valley parked at the 7 yard line.
Both Downingtown West and West Chester Rustin are still long shots to make the the district playoffs. But questioning the coaching staff and the commitment of the kids, as some have been doing this season, is completely out of whack when it comes to these two programs. In this business, you try to not root for anybody and stay impartial, but with all the nonsense surrounding the two programs from outside forces, it was hard not to smile Friday night when those two scores came in.
*** In a nonleague matchup Friday night, Imhotep Charter ran roughshod over one of the best teams in the state in Malvern Prep to the tune of a 48-7 beating.
Now, remember Malvern Prep had already beaten La Salle and a very good prep school from New Jersey in Pope John XIII. This Imhotep Charter team will again be state champs, this time at the 4A level, and they likely will beat their playoff opponents by an average of 50 points or so, making a farce of the PIAA playoffs.
It is time to make Imhotep play up to the 5A or 6A level and maybe, just maybe, find some real competition. Although this year, it looks like they would walk through those classifications also.
Neumann Goretti plays up in basketball, and although Imhotep is something to watch, there has to be a level of competition and interest when it comes to the state playoffs in my estimation. Imhotep has outscored its five opponents by a combined score of 260-13. Inhotep is an all-star team, and that is fine. But please make them compete against the best the state has to offer.
PIAA, are you watching?
Peter DiGiovanni covers high school football for Digital First Media. You can reach him at pdgiovanni07@gmail. com. Follow him on Twitter @PeteDLN.