Down­ing­town West turns the ta­ble on PV

The Phoenix - - SPORTS - By Rob Se­nior

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.”

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