Cougars’ Town: Jennings’ 3 TDs lead Cougars to quarters
DOWNINGTOWN >> Jeremy Jennings ran for a pair of touchdowns in the fourth quarter, the second from 59 yards out to put Dowingtown West ahead 12 with 3:22 remaining, as the sixth-seeded Cougars survived a tough challenge from No. 11 Souderton to earn a 33-21 victory in the District 1 6A first round Friday night at Kottmeyer Stadium.
“Big players got to step up big in big games,” said East coach Mike Matta.
Jennings also caught a touchdown pass in the second quarter for the Cougars (9-2), who won their fourth straight and advance to the district quar-
terfinals for the third consecutive season. Downingtown East will face Perkiomen Valley on the road next week. The third-seeded Vikings rolled past No. 14 Penn Wood, 55-28.
“I think believing the program, that’s what we told our kids at halftime. We said we don’t need to make adjustments, we just got to do what we do,” Matta said. “I think we doubted ourselves a little bit. And that’s a physical, well-coached football team. They punched us in the mouth and I don’t think we were ready for that.”
Souderton (6-5) was making its first playoff appearance since 2010 and was looking for its first district victory since 2006 when it defeated Downingtown East in the 4A 1st round.
Behind the bruising running of senior Koby Khan — who ran 31 times for 181 yards — the Indians twice took the lead in the first half, the second time when Khan crossed the goal line from six yards out to put the Indians up 14-7 with 2:12 left in the second quarter.
Downingtown East, however, pulled level in the final minute, Bryce Lauletta scrambling for a 17-yard touchdown on 3rd-and-8 to make it 14-14 at 36.6 seconds.
“First half, we controlled things and the scoreboard didn’t indicate what kind of game it was in the first half,” said Souderton coach Ed Gallagher. “I think if we held them out of the end zone there and kept it at 147, we’d of been fine.”
With the game still 1414 in the third, Souderton thought it had a long completion into East territory, but a pair of penalties on the play set the Indians back inside their own 10 and the Big Red punted two plays later.
“It was a bad call — one of many. But what am I going to do. They called them. That’s part of the game,” Gallagher said.
The Cougars began their next drive on the Souderton 29 and used the great field position to take the lead for good as Jennings’ seven-yard touchdown run capped a five-play drive at 10:27 in the fourth quarter. East did not convert the extra point, leaving the score, 20-14.
Facing a 4th-and-7 on the next series, Souderton quarterback Joe Curotto found Shane Day for nine yards down to the East 31. But that was as close as the Indians got to the end zone, turning the ball over on downs at the 37.
Two Dan Liaudaitis runs set up 3rd-and-6 from the Cougars 41. Jennings broke through the line and found open space, outrunning the Indians for a 59-yard score at 3:22 for a 26-14 East advantage.
“They found a way to crack a seam with their really fast running back,” Gallagher said. “We bottled him up for the most part but credit to him he found a way through that seam and we he got out there, he finished and he did what he had to do and he got in the end zone.”
The East defense put the contest away as Chris Day intercepted a pass the Cougars got a hand on at the line and returned it for a 60-yard touchdown for a 33-14 lead with 2:24 to go.
Khan scored his second touchdown on a two-yard run at 1:06 to make it 3321. The Indians’ onside kick went out of bounds.
Bryce Lauletta of Downingtown East powers in for a 17-yard touchdown run against Souderton.