Ortegas keep their focus on big night for the record books
CALN >> One athletic milestone is enough reason to celebrate. Two — in one playoff game, for one family — only seems appropriate for a team that has redefined dominance this season.
Coatesville had third and 24 from the Downingtown East 47yard line during Friday’s 38-19 District 1 playoff win, when quarterback Ricky Ortega found receiver Dapree Bryant for a touchdown to give Coatesville a 7-0 lead with 5:39 remaining in the first quarter.
It was Ortega’s 100th passing touchdown of his young career.
With plenty of game left to play, Coatesville would put the hammer down and cruise to a 38-0 halftime lead, which they would use to coast to a victory. Not only did the win extend the Red Raiders season, it gave coach Matt Ortega his 100th win as Coatesville’s coach.
Following the game, the Coatesville players, fans, and cheerleaders were sporting white T-shirts with their head coach’s face on it, honoring Ortega for his 100th victory.
Very rare is it that both coach and player can achieve such milestones on the same night, even more rare when it is a father and son sharing that moment.
“Coaching over 20 years and being able to experience that with your son is special,” Matt said. “Looking back when I first got my head job he was little and was on the sidelines and now it’s my younger two guys Tommy and Matt Jr.”
Ricky Ortega would end his night 4-for-11 for 120 yards, but would throw for three touchdowns, bringing his career total up to 102. The current career Pennsylvania touchdown record is held by Matt Bodamer of Port Allegheny with 137. Ortega has another season left with the Red Raiders, so that record could be in jeopardy.
“It is a very special moment for both me and him,” Ricky said. “We have been grinding the past three years and to accomplish two things that don’t really happen often was unbelievable.”
Defeating both Downingtown schools is a rare feat, and something that does not come by easily, but Coatesville has done so the past three seasons, with Ortega taking the snaps behind center.
“We’re 8-0 versus all Downingtown schools the past three seasons,” Ricky said. “And that is something that hasn’t happened in school history, so again just another great accomplishment for us a program too.”
With this dominant performance and victory, this Ortega-led Coatesville side will then put its undefeated 12-0 record to the test when it hosts No. 3 Garnet Valley next Friday in the District 1 Class 6A semifinals.
With a senior season still to come for Ricky, both father and son know that whatever prospects lie ahead, their job this season is the only thing on their minds.
“I can’t look back at what I did and rest on the success that I was fortunate to have,” Ricky said. “I just have to keep moving forward and being a better player every day.”
“With all the recruiting that has been going on, we are solely focused on this season,” Matt said. “Meeting with college coaches at this point, we have to tell them, ‘No disrespect, but we’ll deal with these kinds of decisions when the season’s over.’”
Coatesville’s Ricky Ortega picks up yards in the first quarter against Downingtown East. He later threw for his 100th career touchdown pass.