DOWNINGTOWN – For forty-eight minutes in the opening round of the District 1 Class AAAA on Saturday, Nov. 14 at Kottmeyer Stadium, second-seeded Downingtown West and No. 15 Pennsbury went after each other like a pack of rabid dogs looking for their next meal. The hitting was vicious, the intensity at a fever pitch and numerous players left the field with various injuries.
Regulation wasn’t even enough to finish it as quarterback Mike Alley scored on two-yard sneak in overtime and the Pennsbury defense put up one final stand to come away with 35-28 upset victory.
After Alley’s score, the Whippets had their chance with the ball at the 10-yard line.
D-W senior running back Jake Barr lost six yards on the first play. Quarterback Thomas Mattioni then threw two incompletions to set up a fourth-and-goal from the 16. On the final play of the game, Mattioni threw the ball into the end zone where Pennsbury senior cornerback Rob Daly intercepted it to preserve the upset and dash Downingtown’s hopes of a district title.
“We lost last week to Neshaminy, but we knew that we could come in here and win,” Alley said. “Downingtown West is a great team and we both went back and forth all night. It was physical, intense and a real dogfight tonight. I am happy to get the win.”
The Falcons (8-3) will visit No. 10 Perkiomen Valley (10-1) in the quarterfinals Saturday, Nov. 21 at Thomas J. Keenan Stadium in Graterford. Meanwhile, the season comes to an end at 9-2 for the Whippets, this year’s Ches-Mont National Division champs.
“Pennsbury, Neshaminy, North Penn are mega schools and they play big boy tough football,” West head coach Mike Milano said. “We knew it was going to be a war, and it was. My team was decimated by injuries tonight. Jake Barr, Braden Harper, Branden Myers, Nick Kyriakos all had injuries. But give them credit. They made the plays at the end and we didn’t.”
Pennsbury had a chance to win the game in regulation as Alley hit senior Tamire Davis for a 40-yard pass to the West four-yard line with four seconds left. In came Chris Knop to attempt a 27-yard field goal. Or so everyone thought. Alley, the holder, rose up and threw a pass in the end zone that Myers intercepted to send the game into the extra session.
“That was a designed play,” Pennsbury head coach Galen Snyder said. “I rather have the ball in my senior quarterback’s hands than my sophomore kicker, but it did not work out. We knew it would be a battle with these guys. They are very good.”
Pennsbury totaled 331 yards rushing, with Alley leading the way with 130, fullback Chris Rupprecht had 108 and Daly added 93 as the Falcons’ wing-T offense gave Downingtown West fits.
Pennsbury jumped out to a 14-0 lead, but the Whippets came right back, scoring 14 points in the second period to tie the game at 14-14 heading into the locker room. Barr caught six passes from Mattioni for 86 yards and a touchdown. Barr also added two rushing touchdowns as the Falcons could not keep up with the senior star from Downingtown.
With 10:25 to play in the fourth quarter, Alley called his own number from the two yard line to give the Falcons a 28-21 lead. After the Whippets were forced to punt, Pennsbury’s ground assault was at it again. But Daly fumbled and Downingtown recovered and were in business at the Falcons’ 47 yard line with six minutes left.
Five plays later, Barr scored from the 11 to tie the game at 28.
“It was a battle,” Milano said. “I thought about going for two points after our last touchdown, but I thought we could get the ball back, and we did. But, to lose six yards on first down in overtime really hurt us.”
Perkiomen Valley finished in second place in the Pioneer Athletic Conference (PAC-10) behind PAC-10 champ Spring-Ford. The Vikings opened the regular season with a big revenge win over Council Rock North (7-4) and finished it with a disappointing loss to Spring-Ford (10-1). But PV outpaced 7th-seeded Haverford 35-28 in the opening round of districts and the Rams lost 31-16 to No. 13 Neshaminy (8-3) Friday, Nov. 13 in their playoff opener so Perk Valley plays on. Spring-Ford does not.
NOTES: Pennsbury senior RB Daulton Hose was injured returning the opening kickoff. Daly took his place on offense.
Contact author Peter DiGiovanni at firstname.lastname@example.org, OR @dlnsports on Twitter
Pennsbury 35, Downingtown West 28, OT
(Nov. 14 at Downingtown West)
Pennsbury 14 0 7 7 7 — 35
Downingtown West 0 14 7 7 0 — 28
Pennsbury — Daly 3 run (Knop kick)
Pennsbury — Snyder 4 pass from Alley (Knop kick)
Dwoningtown West — Barr 1 run (Bascardi kick)
Downingtown West — Alleyne 2 run (Bascardi kick)
Pennsbury — Rupprecht 9 run (Knop kick)
Downingtown West — Barr 27 pass from Mattioni (Bascardi kick)
Pennsbury — Alley 2 run (Knop kick)
Downingtown West — Barr 11 run (Bascardi kick)
Pennsbury — Alley 2 run (Knop kick)
First downs 22 20
Rushes-yards 59-333 42-174
Passing 3-6-1 11-22-2
Passing yards 97 141
Total yards 430 315
Punts 2-37.0 4-41.5
Fumbles-lost 2-2 x-x
Penalties-yards 8-48 7-68
Rushing — Pennsbury: Alley 24-130 2TD, Rupprecht 17-108 TD, Daly 17-93 TD, Bost 1-2. Downingtown West: Mattioni 15-63, Barr 16-58 2TD, Kyriakos 7-31, Simmons 2-20 TD, Harper 2-2.,
Passing — Pennsbury: Alley 3-6-1 97 yards TD. Downingtown West: Mattioni 11-22-2 141 yards TD
Receiving — Pennsbury: Daly 1-53, Davis 1-40, Snyder 1-4. Downingtown West: Barr 6-86 TD, Burke 2-40, Harper 2-11, Alleyne 1-4.
Interceptions — Pennsbury: Lichenstein, Daly. Downingtown West: Myers.
Sacks — Pennsbury: Daly. Downingtown West: Zapf.
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