Coatesville, Hen­der­son gear up for big tests

Coatesville, Hen­der­son set for dis­trict semis against top-ranked op­po­nents

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - FRONT PAGE - By Peter DiGio­vanni pdi­gio­ Pete@DLN on twit­ter

There are only two lo­cal scholas­tic foot­ball teams still alive in their re­spec­tive dis­trict play­offs as this week­end saw four area teams go down to de­feat, all on the road. Only West Ch­ester Hen­der­son (5A) and Coatesville — the only area team with a home game — sur­vived the week­end.

The two win­ning teams did it their way. The West Ch­ester Hen­der­son win over Up­per Dublin was a typ­i­cal War­rior win. The War­rior de­fense won the skir­mish at the line of scrim­mage while spe­cial teams stole the show late to seal the War­rior vic­tory.

Kavond Jones broke through the Up­per Dublin line and blocked a punt in the fourth to give Hen­der­son the foot­ball at the Up­per Dublin 20-yard-line. Then, Bryce McEh­liney drilled the win­ning field goal and the War­riors have another road play­off win to add to their long list over the years. Ju­nior run­ning back C.J. Pre­ston had another big night as the War­rior star rushed for 136 yards on 22 car­ries. Hen­der­son is a tough as nails, gritty bunch and they have a big shot to up­end the top seed in 5A, Spring­field (Delco)

this Fri­day. The road is not an in­tim­i­dat­ing place for the Hen­der­son War­riors.

The Coatesville win over Ri­d­ley showed how much tal­ent and quick strike abil­ity the Red raiders posses. When Aaron young gains 240 yards on the ground and is not the big story of the night, then you know some­thing is brew­ing, some­thing spe­cial in Coatesville.

Fresh­man quar­ter­back Ricky Ortega stole the show as he scored three rush­ing touch­downs and threw for two more scores. It is not a sur­prise any­more to see Ortega do these things. The sur­prise is that this is his first year play­ing at the var­sity level and he makes things look so easy. Ri­d­ley did not lay a hand on him on any of his three touch­down runs. And why Ri­d­ley chose to sin­gle cover Avery Young is a still a mys­tery to me, but the Green Raiders found out what real speed can do to a de­fense.

Now, the Red Raiders must make the trip most Ches-Mont League teams dread. The long trip up the turn­pike to take on head coach Dick Beck and the top seeded Knights of North Penn. It usu­ally does not end well for the var­i­ous Ches-Mont League schools when they play North Penn in Novem­ber as Avon Grove, Downingtown East and Downingtown West teams of the re­cent past can at­test.

North Penn has never lost a play­off game at Craw­ford Sta­dium where it is still grass and dirt, with a lit­tle mud and ice thrown in. But, this Coatesville team is too young, too brash and too tal­ented to worry about all those things. This Coatesville team has speed, con­fi­dence, abil­ity and just enough swag­ger to pull this off and ad­vance to the Dis­trict 1 6A ti­tle game against ei­ther Gar­net Val­ley or the Steven Sturm led Perkiomen Val­ley Vik­ings. A lot of peo­ple said the Red Raiders were a year away be­cause of their youth. Maybe their youth is a ben­e­fit. The Red raiders, es­pe­cially Ortega, have no fear and that is danger­ous.

With West Ch­ester East, Great Val­ley, Bishop Shana­han and Downingtown East all go­ing down to de­feat this week­end to end their re­spec­tive sea­sons, a look at the teams may give an an­swer as to why their sea­sons ended so soon.

Great Val­ley ran into a very tough de­fen­sive team in Sprin­field (Delco) and when quar­ter­back Robert Geiss left the game with an in­jury, that was ba­si­cally it for the Pa­tri­ots. Bishop Shana­han went into Academy Park and bat­tled for 48 min­utes but the speed of the home team won out in the end. Nonethe­less, Ea­gles quar­ter­back Nick Skul­ski had a great year as he al­most willed the ea­gles into the semi­fi­nal round.

Downingtown East is not a team that can score quickly and al­though the Cougars can pres­sure a quar­ter­back, Sturm and re­ceiver Justin Ja­worski were just too much for the slower-footed Cougars. But, another quar­ter­fi­nal play­off run for East un­der head coach Mike Matta. West Ch­ester East had the most heart­break­ing loss of the week­end as a blocked point af­ter con­ver­sion dropped the Vik­ings by a sin­gle point in dou­ble over­time to Marple New­town. Vik­ing foot­ball is in good hands with head coach Dave Gueriera as the Vik­ings won a play­off game for the first time in 10 years.


Coatesville’s Ricky Ortega runs in a 24-yard touch­down dur­ing the first quar­ter of Fri­day night’s 41-21 win over Ri­d­ley.

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