COUGARS CLAIM BAT­TLE OF THE BRANDY­WINE >>

Li­au­datis, Cougars roll over Whip­pets in Bat­tle of the Brandy­wine, head into play­offs on ma­jor high note

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

DOWN­ING­TOWN >> The emo­tion in the play­ers’ faces was easy to see, and the elec­tric­ity in the air Fri­day night at Kottmeyer Sta­dium was easy to feel.

The an­nual Bat­tle of the Brandy­wine brings that out in both teams, and in the 13th such crosstown bat­tle, things had a lit­tle more juice than nor­mal.

Down­ing­town East seized the mo­ment and ran away with a 42-20 Ches-Mont Na­tional Di­vi­sion win over Down­ing­town West as the Cougars (5-1 Ches-Mont, 8-2 over­all) rushed for 400 yards, with two play­ers top­ping the 100-yard mark.

Dan Li­au­datis car­ried the ball 37 times for 205 yards and three scores and Jeremy Jen-

nings helped out with 140 yards and two touch­downs on just seven car­ries.

“All the credit goes to the of­fen­sive line,” Li­au­datis said. “They did the job all night for us. We worked so hard since Jan­uary in the weight room and we still are lift­ing hard. We are a very phys­i­cal team and tonight we showed that. And to beat West is a big thing for us. It al­ways is the most im­por­tant game of the sea­son and I am glad we took it from them.”

East jumped out to a 7-0 lead on the first series of the game as the Cougars ran the ball down the throats of the Whip­pets (33, 5-5) as Li­au­datis and Jen­nings churned up big yardage. East went 80 yards on six plays, all runs, and Li­au­datis cracked over the left side for the fi­nal five yards and a 7-0 lead. The Cougars rushed the foot­ball 56 times on the night for 400 yards.

Af­ter West went three and out and punted the ball back to East, the Cougars went at it again. But the West de­fense stiff­ened deep in its own ter­ri­tory, forc­ing a fourth and seven play. Byrce Lauletta went back to throw look­ing for Jen­nings, but Kenny Costello jumped in front of the Cougar re­ceiver and ran 99 yards for a touch­down on the in­ter­cep­tion re­turn and the game was tied at 7-7.

East did not lose its com­po­sure as the Cougars came right back to score the next three touch­downs of the first half to take a com­mand­ing 28-7 lead into the locker room at half­time. Jen­nings broke the tie with a scin­til­lat­ing 69-yard scam­per, and then Li­au­datis ended long Cougar drives with touch­down runs of three and two yards. Two big Down­ing­town West fum­bles in the sec­ond quar­ter con­trib­uted to the Whip­pets’ of­fen­sive woes.

The West of­fense could not gen­er­ate much as the Whip­pets to­taled just 118 yards of of­fense against the ra­bid Cougar de­fense led by Seth Davis, Steven DiLullo and Will Kiely. The Whip­pets were also not helped when they lost quar­ter­back Kyle Geiser to a shoul­der in­jury late in the first half when Davis blitzed the West back­field and threw Geiser to the ground. Mitchell Mi­cale came in for the in­jured Geiser at that point, but the Cougars’ size ad­van­tage up front was tak­ing its toll on the Whip­pets.

“They are a very well coached team,” said Down­ing­town West head coach Mike Mi­lano. “And they are big up front with a cou­ple of good backs and you have to try to stop the run by not sac­ri­fic­ing your de­fen­sive back­field and we could not stop the run.”

The sec­ond half started much like the first half ended as West took the kick­off and went three and out. Af­ter punt­ing to the Cougars, East went on a 63-yard, nine-play drive with Jen­nings cap­ping it by go­ing seven yards for the touch­down and a 35-7 East lead. West showed some heart as the Whip­pets came back on a long drive of their own with Costello scor­ing from four yards out to make it a 35-14 game.

“Tonight it was all about the de­fense and our of­fen­sive line,” Lauletta said. “And this at­mos­phere is great. I don’t think you get this at­mos­phere any­where else. You re­mem­ber games like this for­ever.”

Lauletta fin­ished the night by com­plet­ing five of seven passes for 95 yards, and East took an 8-5 ad­van­tage in the all-time Bat­tle of the Brandy­wine series.

“This was all about the kids buy­ing in and work­ing in the weight room with coach dar­ren Wasser,” Down­ing­town east head coach Mike Matta said. “He gets all the credit. And this is more im­por­tant than the play­offs. This game is a cel­e­bra­tion of Down­ing­town foot­ball. These kids all played against each other grow­ing up and I tried the take the se­niors out but they wanted to stay on the field be­cause it was the last time they would play West. This game is al­ways the big­gest game of the year.”

PETE BANNAN — DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

Down­ing­town East’s Dan Li­au­daitis breaks loose for a big gain as Down­ing­town West’s Nick Si­cilia pur­sues in the fourth quar­ter Fri­day at

PETE BANNAN — DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

Down­ing­town East’s Stocker Bras­sir cel­e­brates his touch­down against Down­ing­town West in the fourth quar­ter

PETE BANNAN — DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

Down­ing­town East’s Stocker Bras­sir is tack­led af­ter a big gain against Down­ing­town West Fri­day.

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