Peter DiGiovanni makes his picks for this weekend’s nine games. Along with DLN-area statistical leaders
Week 8 is here and the Ches-Mont League divisional races are in full flight, while Malvern Prep begins Inter-Academic League play against Penn Charter Saturday.
FRIDAY’S GAMES NO. 14 UNIONVILLE AT NO. 4 DOWNINGTOWN EAST
The big game in the area is a battle of the last two undefeated Chester County schools as the 7-0 Unionville Indians visit the 7-0 Downingtown East Cougars at Kottmeyer Stadium. Both teams are coming off big wins as the Indians defeated rival West Chester Rustin, 28-21, while the Cougars held off archrival Downingtown West, 28-14, in a game that really drained the emotions of both squads. East head coach Mike Matta knows how tough Unionville is and he talked about the problems the Indians present. “Unionville is a very good squad that has won several big games this year,” Matta said. “They do a lot of good things on offense that keeps you off balance. No. 1 (Joe Zubillaga) is one of the better players we will face and they do an excellent job getting him the ball in many different ways. They are always well coached and they play hard. The game will be a huge challenge for us.” Unionville is no fluke. The Indians have already posted wins over Spring-Ford, Academy Park and Rustin, so the Cougars better not look past the Indians to next week’s battle royale with Coatesville. I think Matta keeps the Cougars grounded and they run the ball well enough with their three backs to get a tough win. The Pick: Downingtown East 28, Unionville 14
AVON GROVE AT NO. 5 COATESVILLE
This game looked like another mercy rule game for Coatesville four weeks ago, but Avon Grove has won four games in a row and beat Downingtown West and Bishop Shanahan the last two weeks. Hard running Kevin Francis is lapping the rest of the county in rushing with over 1,400 yards and the Red Devils defensive line is very physical. Coatesville, quite simply, is a level above the rest of the Ches-Mont League and the Red Raiders should win going away at home.
The Pick: Coatesville 34, Avon Grove 14
DOWNINGTOWN WEST AT BISHOP SHANAHAN
Both teams are coming off losses and Bishop Shanahan got hit by the injury bug against Avon Grove, leaving the Eagles a little thin. West needs a win to keep its flickering playoff hopes alive. The Pick: Downingtown West 27, Bishop Shanahan 24
GREAT VALLEY AT OCTORARA
Octorara has given up an average of 36 points per game in its last four, all losses, and Great Valley put up 36 points on a pretty good Oxford defense last week in a 36-28 win.
The Pick: Great Valley 31, Octorara 14
KENNETT AT OXFORD
Kennett got quarterback Jake Dilcher back from injury last week and the Blue Demons’ senior threw for 127 yards and a touchdown in a tough 24-21 loss to West Chester Henderson. Oxford can move the football on the ground or through the air.
The Pick: Oxford 34, Kennett 24
WEST CHESTER HENDERSON AT WEST CHESTER EAST
Henderson got its first win of the season last week, defeating Kennett, 24-21, and the Warriors got big games from running back C.J. Preston and quarterback Joe Saulino. The Vikings are having trouble scoring points but will be sky high for their West Chester neighbors.
The Pick: W.C. Henderson 27, W.C. East 21
CONESTOGA AT PENNCREST
This is a matchup of two Central League teams that are really trudging along. I think Penncrest gets the win at home.
The Pick: Penncrest 20, Conestoga 14
SATURDAY’S GAMES SUN VALLEY AT WEST CHESTER RUSTIN
Rustin likely lost the Ches-Mont American title with last week’s 28-21 loss to Unionville, so the Golden Knights should be in a foul mood. Look for Ty Pringle, who rushed for 112 yards and two scores against the Indians, to have a real big game.
The Pick: W.C. Rustin 42, Sun Valley 14
PENN CHARTER AT MALVERN PREP
Malvern Prep should run the table in the Inter-Ac and the road starts Saturday against a Quaker team that is giving up a lot of points.
The Pick: Malvern Prep 35, Penn Charter 20