Pete’s Picks: Picks for each play­off game, plus Malvern Prep at Spring­side-CHA. Stats: Lead­ers through Week 11

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

The sec­ond round of the District 1 play­offs takes place tonight, and the area has six teams still alive in their re­spec­tive quests for district and state hon­ors. Five Ch­ester County teams will go on the road tonight, where it is very dif­fi­cult to win in the play­offs, while fourth-seeded Coatesville has a stern home test with No. 5 Ri­d­ley.


Ri­d­ley and Coatesville have tra­di­tion­ally been two of the strong­est District 1 pro­grams over the years, and Coatesville, which has won nine straight games since a Week 2 loss to Cum­ber­land Val­ley, will have to play its best foot­ball. Coatesville head coach Matt Ortega talked about what chal­lenge the Green Raiders present. “Ri­d­ley’s de­fense is very ac­tive and they are quick,” Ortega said. “When you watch them on film you can tell they are very well coached by Coach (Dave) Wood. They play dis­ci­plined de­fense and their de­fense scored two touch­downs in their first round win over Ply­mouth-Whitemarsh. They are one of the most sto­ried pro­grams in District 1 and this Ri­d­ley team re­minds me of the 2008 team we played in my first year here. It will be a very good game with them.” Ri­d­ley’s only loss this sea­son was to the top seed in 5A, Spring­field (Delco), and the Green Raiders’ de­fense has pitched four shutouts and only has given up 96 points in 11 games. But, I do not think the Green Raiders have seen the sped and ath­leti­cism that Coatesville presents. And dur­ing the ninegame win­ning streak, Coatesville has av­er­aged 40.5 points per game. Aaron Young is av­er­ag­ing 11 yards per carry for Coatesville and quar­ter­back Ricky Ortega is not play­ing like a fresh­man.

The Pick: Coatesville 34, Ri­d­ley 17


Down­ing­town East has to travel to play a Perkiomen Val­ley team that fea­tures star quar­ter­back Steven Sturm, who has thrown for 2,625 yards and 31 touch­downs dur­ing the reg­u­lar sea­son. Wide re­ceiver Justin Ja­worski missed two games dur­ing the sea­son and still led the district with 56 catches for 1,153 yards. Down­ing­town East head coach Mike Matta talked about how po­tent the Vik­ings of­fense is and what his team has to do. “Perkiomen Val­ley has an out­stand­ing quar­ter­back and they run a great scheme,” Matta said. “They also have a lot of very good skill play­ers and a cou­ple of pretty big line­men. We def­i­nitely have our work cut out for us. We need to con­trol the ball on of­fense and hope for some breaks.”

The Pick: Perkiomen Val­ley 31, Down­ing­town East 21


The eighth-seeded Pa­tri­ots visit the top-seeded Cougars, who have just one loss this sea­son, a 24-21 de­ci­sion to Gar­net Val­ley. Great Val­ley has the edge with quar­ter­back Robert Geiss, who threw for 2.257 yards dur­ing the reg­u­lar sea­son. Wide re­ceiver Ryan Hub­ley hauled in 47 balls for 957 yards in the 10-game reg­u­lar sea­son. Great Val­ley head coach Dan El­lis knows how tough the Cougars will be on their home field. “The thing with Spring­field is that their kids play so hard,” El­lis said. “They are tough kids and we have to match their phys­i­cal­ity. After a lit­tle down stretch dur­ing the reg­u­lar sea­son we seem to have our con­ti­nu­ity back. We are go­ing to try to put stress on their de­fense with a short pass­ing game and we hope to be able to run the foot­ball.”

The Pick: Spring­field 21, Great Val­ley 17


Up­per Dublin is the fourth seed and de­fend­ing District 1 4A cham­pi­ons, but that squad lost 24 se­niors to grad­u­a­tion. “Up­per Dublin is very le­git­i­mate,” said Hen­der­son coach Steve Mit­ten. “Bret Stover is a great coach. He was the quar­ter­back on the best team Millersville ever had and he is a very ac­com­plished player, coach and of­fen­sive mind. He is a Dan El­lis type of guy. They have very good skill peo­ple and we will try to keep them off the field with run­ning the ball with C.J. (Pre­ston). And our spe­cial teams will be key and coach Jeff Bott has done a great job for us this year with the spe­cial teams play.”

The Pick: W.C. Hen­der­son 28, Up­per Dublin 21


Acad­emy Park is the de­fend­ing district cham­pion and No. 3 seed. The Knights are very tough on their home field and the No. 7 Ea­gles, who looked very im­pres­sive in their first round win over West Ch­ester Rustin, will have their hands full with the Knights. “Acad­emy Park has ath­letes all over the field,” said Shana­han coach Paul Mey­ers said. “We need to stop their run­ning game. The quar­ter­back can throw the ball a lit­tle bit but I don’t think it is con­stant enough. De­fen­siely, they are re­ally quick and phys­i­cal like a mini Coatesville team. I think we can throw on them and run some things to slow down their ag­gres­sive­ness like screens, shov­els, draws and so on. We must also play smart and al­ways be ready for any­thing. they will on­sides kick, run no-hud­dle, run fake punts and throw dou­ble passes. They like to run a lot of gad­get plays.” Bishop Shana­han quar­ter­back Nick Skul­ski is a duel threat with over 1,300 yards pass­ing and 600 yards rush­ing dur­ing the reg­u­lar sea­son, and he might be the dif­fer­ence here.

The Pick: Bishop Shana­han 28, Acad­emy Park 24


West Ch­ester East must travel to gace the high fly­ing Tigers, who av­er­age 37 points per game. Quar­ter­back An­thony Pao­letti threw for 2,229 yards and 21 touch­downs dur­ing the reg­u­lar sea­son. The Tigers also pos­sess two fine re­ceivers in Cameron Mathes, who hauled in 41 passes for 817 yards dur­ing the reg­u­lar sea­son, and Dash Dul­ge­rian who hauled in 36 balls for 796 yards. “Marple New­town has avery bal­anced of­fen­sive at­tack,” said East coach Dave Gueriera. “They have a very strong-armed quar­ter­back and great ath­letes sur­round­ing him. We need to be fun­da­men­tally sound in all as­pects of our de­fense and limit his time in the pocket. We need to bring the same phys­i­cal­ity to Marple New­town that we brought to the Unionville game” East will be ham­pered if re­ceiver Alex Hirsch can­not play again due to in­jury, but I think this Vik­ings team has enough to pull the up­set here.

The Pick: W.C. East 28, Marple New­town 27


Malvern Prep can clinch the In­ter-Aca­demic crown with a win here. Ch­est­nut Hill has given up a ton of points this sea­son and the Fri­ars, with Zac Fer­nan­dez run­ning the foot­ball and sopho­more quar­ter­back Shane Gun­ther play­ing well. This looks like an easy win for the Fri­ars.

The Pick: Malvern Prep 41, Spring­side Ch­est­nut Hill 21

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