Downingtown West turns the table on PV
GRATERFORD » Last season’s 5-5 finish led to Downingtown West watching the District 1 Class 6A playoffs from afar, an unfamiliar position for one of the area’s stalwart programs.
The miss left the young squad with a chip on their shoulders coming into 2018 — and Friday night, the Whippets served notice that a reemergence is coming sooner rather than later.
Will Howard passed for 240 yards and a TD, while Dan Byrnes compiled 248 total yards in a high-flying 44-33 Whippets win over host Perkiomen Valley.
The victory served as not only a proclamation of D-West’s resurgence, but as a measure of revenge for a young team that was smashed 38-0 by Perk Valley in the 2017 season opener, almost one year ago to the day.
“Last year we were starting 14 sophomores — and that’s (PV) a heck of a football team,” said West coach Mike Milano. “I’m extremely proud of the way the kids responded to adversity.”
After Tyriq Lewis gave D-West a 37-33 with under four minutes to play on his third TD run of the evening, cornerback Alex Rosano picked off Cole Peterlin and returned it 32 yards for a gameclinching score with 1:48 to play.
“We saw them come out in a trips set, and switched to Cover 1,” said Rosano. “They ran the same out route they’d been running — I was able to jump it and make the play.”
“He got picked on a bit tonight by their offense,” said Milano. “But it was like the Super Bowl — two offenses go at it all night, then the defense makes the play to decide it.”
On paper, the matchup was a tale of two quarterbacks — PV senior Cole Peterlin, last year’s breakout performer in the PAC, and D-West’s Howard, who appears poised to do likewise in 2018.
Peterlin’s outstanding night (306 yards and 4 TD passing, 114 rushing and a TD) went for naught in the end, as Howard, Byrnes, and Lewis led D-West’s offensive explosion.
“This one felt great,” said Byrnes. “We have a lot of weapons — we just kept working in the offseason, and I think it showed out there tonight.”
“We knew they’d look to (Byrnes) a lot, and he and Howard have a great connection,” said PV coach Rob Heist.
Peterlin’s 4th TD pass of the night to Isaiah Domine (85 yards, 3 TD receiving) gave Perk Valley a 33-30 lead with 7:18 to play before Lewis’ and Rosano’s late heroics settled matters.
The teams took turns making highlight plays in the first quarter, starting with PV’s Austin Rowley taking a short pass from Peterlin, juking a defender and exploding deep into D-West territory. Peterlin finished the drive with an 8-yard run before Howard took his turn, finding Byrnes on a 42-yard tunnel screen to even it at 7.
The Vikings responded with a Peterlin TD pass to Doug Lingo, but West turned in another showstopper when Howard recovered an errant snap and hit Byrnes for a 24-yard gain before Tyriq Lewis gave the Whippets their first lead at 14-13.
Both defenses stiffened in the second quarter, as Matt Brock, Malik Smith, and Jake Sterling respectively thwarted Whippet drives with sacks. Meanwhile, Peterlin’s running lanes got smaller as the Whippets adjusted to the Vikings’ attack. Isaiah Domine averaged 42 yards per punt early to keep the Whippets pinned deep and hold the lead to 14-13 at the half.
After halftime, a Byrnes kickoff return put DWest in excellent starting field position. On the first play from scrimmage, Byrnes added to his feats with a 25-yard end-around, setting up Howard’s short plunge for a 2113 DWest lead. Peterlin and the Vikings responded with a 12yard Isaiah Domine TD catch, but Byrnes wasn’t finished, taking another carry 55 yards down the sideline to put DWest in prime position for Lewis’ second TD run, expanding the lead to 27-19.
Peterlin and the Vikings responded yet again, however, as Domine caught a long ball down the sideline for a 34-yard score — his second of the night. This time the duo also connected on the two-point conversion, knotting the score at 27 late in the third quarter.
Spencer Mochulski’s 33-yarder as the quarter expired gave DWest a 30-27 advantage heading to the final stanza.
It was there that Downingtown West took control, moving to 1-0 on a campaign they hope will erase the sour taste left by last season.
Perk Valley (0-1) travels to Downingtown next week to take on Downingtown East, another Ches-Mont contender. The Vikings should be plenty battle tested after Friday.
“They’re (D-West) outstanding. We knew they would be,” summarized Heist. “They move the ball at will — Howard’s a great QB, they get the ball to Byrnes as much as possible — they’ve really matured as a team, and they’re gonna be scary.”