Break­ing down the Dis­trict 1 hope­fuls

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

With just two weeks left in the reg­u­lar sea­son, many area teams are clearly in the Dis­trict 1 play­off hunt.

CLASS 6A

It ap­pears only Coatesville and Down­ing­town East will rep­re­sent the area in 6A. Coatesville should win its fi­nal two games — host­ing Bishop Shana­han and vis­it­ing West Ch­ester Rustin — and if the Red Raiders beat Shana­han Fri­day, Coatesville will cap­ture its sec­ond Ches-Mont Na­tional Di­vi­sion ti­tle in the last three years and likely clinch one of the top four spots in the 6A bracket.

Coatesville’s most likely land­ing spot is the No. 4 seed, be­hind North Penn, Ne­shaminy and Perkiomen Val­ley, which should all win their fi­nal two games.

Fin­ish­ing fourth would guar­an­tee the Red Raiders at least two home games in the play­offs and put them in a great po­si­tion to reach the fi­nal four. Down­ing­town East will likely be in the top eight if the Cougars can beat West Ch­ester East and Down­ing­town West. Those games won’t be easy, and if the Cougars slip, they will likely hit the road for the first round of dis­tricts. Two wins in the next two weeks should give the Cougars at least one home game in the play­offs.

CLASS 5A

An ab­surd 16 of 25 teams qual­ify for the play­offs this sea­son, and it looks like Great Val­ley, Bishop Shana­han, West Ch­ester Hen­der­son, West Ch­ester East and Unionville will all get in. At least two, maybe three, of these

teams will start with home games, which Bishop Shana­han be­ing the topseeded Ch­esco school and a very tough out. The top two teams in 5A, Academy Park and Spring­field (Delco), will be very tough, with the Knights de­fend­ing their 2015 dis­trict ti­tle and al­low­ing fewer than eight points per game. Academy Park al­ready has wins over West Ch­ester East and Unionville this sea­son. The Dis­trict 1 Foot­ball Steer­ing Com­mit­tee met last Wed­nes­day and did not vote on the pro­posed re­align­ment of Dis­trict 1 foot­ball. The new pro­posal would elim­i­nate leagues and put teams in brack­ets with like teams in terms of clas­si­fi­ca­tion, mean­ing 6A teams would be grouped with other 6A teams, 5A

team with 5A teams, and so on.

The pro­posal will be brought up again at the Dis­trict 1 meet­ing in De­cem­ber, and is for foot­ball only. Down­ing­town West, a 6A team that is usu­ally a sta­ple come play­off time, will likely not be in the play­offs this sea­son. The Whip­pets’ 14-7 loss to Hen­der­son on Fri­day likely doomed the Whip­pets’ chances of get­ting the No. 16 seed. Things just did not go right for West this sea­son. Its first two games against Perkiomen Val­ley and Wayne Val­ley, two very good teams, could have been wins, but the Whip­pets fell just short.

This looks like just a blip and one of those years for Down­ing­town West, and not a prob­lem with the struc­ture of the pro­gram. West fin­ishes its sea­son with games against Avon Grove and Down­ing­town East, and how much do you think the Whip­pets would like to knock off East in the fi­nal game of the sea­son? West Ch­ester East is another team play­ing good foot­ball. East should have beaten Down­ing­town West two weeks ago, los­ing with less than one sec­ond to play, and giv­ing up two spe­cial teams touch­downs. Then, the Vik­ings went on the road to beat Sun Val­ley, 28-14, last week. Vik­ings head coach Dave Gueriera and his staff de­serve plenty of credit for keep­ing the team rolling, es­pe­cially after such a heart­break­ing loss to the Whip­pets.

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