Coatesville, Henderson have shots at title games
COATESVILLE, HENDERSON FACE HOSTILE CROWDS WITH SPOTS IN CHAMPIONSHIP GAMES ON THE LINE
Doubling Up: Pete DiGiovanni says Ches-Mont teams will both reach D1 finals
And then there were two. There are only two area football teams still alive in their quests for district and state honors. West Chester Henderson must travel to face top-seeded Springfield (Delco) in the Class 5A bracket, while in 6A, red-hot Coatesville travels to Lansdale to face undefeated and number one seed, North Penn.
Both teams face very stern tests, and both area coaches talked about how tough their opponents are going to be.
Coatesville at North Penn, 7 p.m.
“North Penn is very good. This is not your typical North Penn offense,” Coatesville head coach Matt Ortega said. “They still have some size up front and they have good backs, but their quarterback (Reece Udinski) is the real thing. He is tall, stands up well in the pocket, and he has a lot of receivers who can catch the ball, not just (Ricky) Johns. He’s not real fast, but he can run it a little.
“Defensively, they do what North Penn usually does, and that is play tough, hard defense,” Ortega said. “And playing at North Penn makes our kids have a chance to make history because they are very tough to beat there. We are playing well right now and we are looking forward to the challenge. They look for matchups to beat you and they have a lot of guys that can make plays. Those kids have been in big games before, so playoff games are no surprise to them. It is a great program.”
Udinski, who has thrown for 3,060 yards and 36 touchdowns, has three or four receivers who can go get the football. Johns is the prime target. The West Virginia recruit hauled in 35 passes in 10 regular season games, along with seven touchdowns.
Coatesville will be led by the defensive play of Isiah Hall, Ed Clark and Alex Raminido. The Red Raiders are on a 10-game winning streak, and have averaged just over 40 points per game in that span.
North Penn plays very good defense, but the Coatesville spread offense should give the Knights fits. Udinski will put up points, but the Red Raiders put up a little more.
W.C. Henderson at Springfield, 7 p.m.
Henderson is coming off a thrilling 17-14 win over Upper Dublin that had coach Steve Mitten looking back.
“Our special teams have been great all season, and then against Upper Dublin, we get a punt block and then Bryce McElhiney kicks another game-winning field goal for us,” Mitten said. “He won the Oxford game and in the West Chester East game, he hit a big field goal. CJ Preston, besides rushing the football for us, had the big punt block that won the Downingtown West game for us. And, Joe Saulino set a school record with a 77yard punt to pin Great Valley inside the one-yard line. So our special teams have been fantastic.”
Mitten then turned his attention to the district’s top seed.
“As far as Springfield, they are the Central League champions, and the Central has Garnet Valley, Springfield and Marple Newtown still left, so to win that league this year is a big thing,” he said. “They play very hard, Have excellent skill players and they really rally to the football. It will be another big challenge for us.”
Springfield and Henderson are almost carbon copies of each other. Both like to run the football, play tough defense and have good special teams. Henderson has a knack of going on the road in the playoffs and knocking teams off. And playing in the Ches-Mont League National Division is tougher than anything the Cougars will throw at them. They go on the road and do it again tonight.
Coatesville’s Chris Carney forces a fumble by Ridley’s Malik Young in last week’s playoff win.
West Chester Henderson’s Nick Mascetti holds onto the ball after intercepting it in the end zone to
Springfield quarterback Johnny Fanelli, center, hands off to running back Phillip Shovlin, right, during a playoff game.
North Penn quarterback Reece Udinski passes over Spring-Ford’s Tanner Romano in last week’s playoff game.
THE PICK >> W.C. Henderson 21, Springfield 14
THE PICK >> Coatesville 31, North Penn 28