Coatesville stays undefeated with 47-33 win over D-West

Raiders grab top seed in PIAA District One, will face Haverford, Whippets take on Pennsbury

By Kyle CarrozzaStaff Writer, The Times

CALN – For those who watch and play sports, winning and losing can often seem like the top priority, like the only thing that matters at the end of a game, but a team’s record is only a byproduct of what really matters: the passion that a group of players and fans musters while rallying around a common cause. In a contest between two playoff-bound rivals, both Downingtown West and Coatesville put that passion on display Friday night playing to a 47-33 thriller that was only decided late in the fourth quarter.

Coatesville, ChesMont Champions at 9-0 and looking to complete an undefeated season, hosted one of the conference’s stronger teams in a 6-3 West.

Wayne Anderson runs down the sideline after making an interception. With 7:46 left, the interception looked like it would give West a late advantage.

Wayne Anderson runs down the sideline after making an interception. With 7:46 left, the interception looked like it would give West a late advantage.

Coatesville looked the stronger side early, recovering Downingtown’s surprise onside kick to open. Led by senior running back Jalen Hudson’s 44 first quarter rushing yards, junior quarterback Jordan Young ran in for a 10-yard score. The home team then recovered an onside kick of its own, but West found its footing and forced a three and out.

“It’s one of our biggest rivalries,” said senior wide receiver Jay Stocker. “We have East on the other end and West, our two biggest rivalries.”

The Whippets took the lead at the end of the first quarter. An efficient option offense run by a committee of running backs strung together a 15 play drive that took up half the quarter and allowed junior running back Jake Barr to punch in the one yard score. The extra point by senior kicker Brandon Bowler made the score 7-6.

Another forced three and out gave West the ball back and allowed the side to expand its lead. This time, Barr took a screen pass from senior Tyler McNulty, followed his blockers, and blew past the secondary to make it 14-6. The play gave Barr 47 of his 89 receiving yards for the game.

“The first half, we just came out flat. It wasn’t together,” said Stocker.

But Coatesville struck back to cut the deficit to two before the break. Young performed strongly through the air and on the ground before keeping for a one yard touchdown run. A failed conversion attempt made the score 14-12 at halftime.

“The game is slower to him. He understands it more. He understands the offense, has confidence in himself and confidence in his teammates,” Coatesville Coach Matt Ortega said of his quarterback’s development this year.

As has been the custom in Ortega’s offense, Coatesville performed strongly on either end of the break, scoring on the hosts’ first possession of the second half. Young found senior wide receiver Ahkeema Evans with a 30-yard pass, and Hudson got his second touchdown on a six yard run.

“Jalen Hudson was really an unsung hero for the night,” said Ortega.

But the slugfest was far from over. On the following drive McNulty hit senior running back Jimmy DiSantis on a 57-yard throw to put his team into the opponents’ red zone. Another connection between them put the ball at the 6, and sophomore power running back Michael Riddick eventually pushed up the middle for a 1-yard touchdown, giving his team the 21-19 lead halfway through the third.


Jalen Hudson makes a cut after receiving a screen pass. In addition to his combined 87 rushing and receiving yards and two touchdowns, Hudson made key blocks to protect his quarterback on the game-winning drive.

Switching from its balanced first half attack, Coatesville relied heavily on the running game in the second half. Young connected with Clark on all three plays of a drive late in the quarter, resulting in a five yard touchdown pass to make it 26-21 going into the final period.

“We saw some things in the first half, we went into halftime and said, ‘We’re going to air it out,’” said Ortega.

Though both teams may have had their claimed their playoff spots already, neither team was content to coast into the postseason at any point in the game, least of all during the flurry of five combined touchdowns scored in the final six and a half minutes.

“We wanted to get revenge. They beat our undefeated team last year; they took that away from us,” said senior tight end Amir Ealey who played a huge role during crunch time.

Downingtown West’s sophomore defensive back Wayne Anderson grabbed an interception in the fourth. Four plays later, Riddick ran it in from three yards out, making the score 27-26 in favor of West.

Coatesville struck back, largely due to Young’s connecting with Ealey on a seam route for a 38-yard gain. On the following play, Hudson rushed in from six yards out for his second score to make it 32-27 with 4:50 left.

“He’s the best,” Ealey said about his quarterback. “Jordan and I have the connection with where to go.”

Just two plays from scrimmage later, Downingtown grabbed the 33-32 lead with Riddick scoring on his second consecutive carry. This time, he took the handoff near midfield, broke some tackles, and won the footrace for a 45-yard touchdown with 4:16 on the clock.

As he has done all year, Young came through in the clutch for the home team. Starting from his own 21 with four minutes left, the quarterback threw for 92 yards on the offense’s final drive. On third and 10, he found senior wide receiver Keenan Coleman for the conversion. With just over a minute left, the offense faced a fourth and 16. Remaining calm in the pocket, Young found Ealey for a 23-yard gain.

“Man, I love the pressure. That’s one thing I love to do, I love the pressure. When pressure comes my way, that’s when I strive the most,” said Ealey, who had 91 of his 148 yards in the final quarter.

Ahkeema Evans returns an interception in the last minute. The late pick six sealed the game for his team.

Ahkeema Evans returns an interception in the last minute. The late pick six sealed the game for his team.

One play later, Coatesville would be in the lead again. Jay Stocker, in single coverage, ran a go route down the right sideline. Young’s pass allowed his receiver to catch the ball in stride and finish the 28-yard touchdown. Young finished with 357 passing yards, 44 rushing yards, two passing touchdowns, two rushing touchdowns, and one interception. Coleman was on the receiving end of the two point conversion to make it 40-33 with :47 remaining.

“That closing drive was all about heart. Everybody came together,” said Stocker. “It’s senior night, last game of the regular season. You’re never going to have one of these games again, so I had to put it all on the line.

The Whippets looked to counter the blow like both teams had done all game. But instead, cornerback Ahkeema Evans grabbed an interception and returned it 36 yards for a touchdown. With 21 seconds left in the game, the pick six sealed it 47-33 in favor of Coatesville.

“It’s unbelievable. I’ve been coaching a long time, and it’s so hard to do it,” Ortega said of his team’s undefeated season. “Our kids believed, and they believed in each other, and they just kept making plays. They’ll go down in history.”

At 10-0, number one seeded Coatesville will take on Haverford at home next Friday. Meanwhile Downingtown, at 6-4 will go to Pennsbury for the first round of the playoffs.

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