Coatesville edges Downingtown East, 15-9

Fake punt tips the scales to lead to last minute Coatesville touchdown

By Kyle CarrozzaStaff Writer, The Times

Jordan Young drops back for the pass. Young rushed for over 100 yards on the night including a late fake punt conversion.

Jordan Young drops back for the pass. Young rushed for over 100 yards on the night including a late fake punt conversion.

DOWNINGTOWN – In any sporting event, there is a balance of power between the teams. Skill, coaching, physical advantage, heart, and luck play into each team’s success until one side reaches a tipping point and comes away with the win.

In Friday night’s matchup between ChesMont rivals Downingtown East and Coatesville, that balance of power seemed to sit at perfect equilibrium until Coatesville’s touchdown with less than a minute left led to the 15-9 away victory.

The game pitted two powerful offenses against each other, but Coatesville’s big play defense and Downingtown’s dominating front seven turned much of the evening into a battle of field position. Coatesville stopped the home team’s first drive largely due to a sack by junior defensive end Javon Simpson, and in response, Downingtown’s defense shut down the opponent’s run game to force the punt.

East looked to break the deadlock on their second possession, finding success with running backs Keith Conner, Jack Kincade, and Nik Aivado pounding the ball up the middle to drive down to the 2 yard line. But a bad exchange on a handoff led to a Cougars fumble, which was recovered by Sampson ended the threat.

Some good passing from Coatesville’s junior quarterback Jordan Young took the ball the other way, but a fumble in opponent territory ended that threat as well.

The home team drew first blood near the end of the half. Downingtown’s running back by committee approach wore down the defense and opened big holes for consistent gains. A big fourth down conversion near midfield allowed for a 12-play drive that lasted nearly six minutes and was capped off by a four-yard touchdown by Kincade. The 6-0 lead lasted until halftime.

East looked to continue the momentum after the break, grabbing an interception in the backfield on the first play from scrimmage, but it was Coatesville that got on the board next.

“We changed our protection up a little bit, and Jordan made the plays when he had to in the second half,” said Coatesville Head Coach Matt Ortega.

Following a missed field goal, Coatesville started from its own 20. Young had some solid connections with senior wide receiver Jay Stocker for a few big plays, and converted a fourth and inches himself deep in at East’s five. Senior running back Ahkema Evans followed that up, taking a toss to the left for a touchdown. The extra point gave the visitors a 7-6 advantage halfway through the third quarter.

East continued to follow its running game to success, resulting in an early fourth quarter field goal to make it 9-7.

Coatesville looked to grab momentum back with eight minutes to go. As the home team looked to run down the clock, senior safety Ricky Southcott displayed great individual effort to strip the ball from Conner and come up with the recovery.

“It was just heart,” Ortega said of his defense’s second half performance. He said that multiple former players attended the game and helped to serve as inspiration for the team. “Those guys had the tradition and showed them the path, and the young guys stepped up.”

The offense looked to strike quickly when a 30-yard connection between Young and senior tight end Amir Ealey put the ball on the 25. Young looked to get the rest of the yards immediately, throwing to the end zone on the next play, but the wide receiver lost sight of the ball, and Downingtown’s sophomore defensive back Jeremy Jennings caught the floated pass.

Coatesville edges Downingtown East, 15-9


Ahkema Evans lunges in for the game-winning touchdown with 29 seconds left.

Coatesville did indeed get the ball back with 2:51 remaining as the defense stuffed East’s ground game.

“I knew we were going to get the ball back; our defense is awesome,” said Young.

Three straight incomplete passes on the ensuing possession seemed to indicate that the Cougars would hold on to their 9-7 lead. But an interesting call by Ortega provided the tipping point that both teams were looking for all night.

“Honestly, it was the first fake punt call of my career,” he said. “I knew they’d be sitting on their heels a little bit, and they were. We set up and ran it, and Jordan made the play.”

From its own 22 with 2:32 left, Coatesville faced a fourth and 10. The special teams came out in a punt formation, seeming to indicate that the visitors would depend on on their defense to make a stop and get the ball back. Instead, Young took the snap and rushed right for a 23-yard gain.

“I knew I had to get the first down, and we were going to win it,” said Young.

A 28-yard completion to senior wide receiver Keenan Coleman, and a good catch and run by senior James Clark put Coatesville two yards from the end zone. Evans finished the drive off for his second touchdown. A pass to Stocker for the two point conversion gave the visitors a 15-9 lead with 29 seconds left.

“He made those throws going down for the win—that’s what he does, that’s what this team does. They believe in each other, and we made the plays we had to make,” Ortega said of his quarterback.

Downingtown managed to get the ball near midfield on the game’s final drive, but the defense tipped the ball on the Hail Mary to make 15-9 the final.

Coatesville goes to Kennett next week to attempt to add another win to the 6-0 record. Meanwhile, the 4-2 East squad will go to Avon Grove to continue its Ches Mont campaign.

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