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