We are already at Week 4 of the football season and tonight we have a full slate of games with every area team in action except Malvern Prep (the Friars play Saturday). Two big Ches-Mont National Division games are on tap as Coatesville visits the 3-0 West Chester Henderson Warriors and 3-0 Bishop Shanahan faces a tough test at West Chester East. Both games should be good barometers on where the four teams are in the early art of the season.
Bishop Shanahan at West Chester East
Bishop Shanahan is averaging 41 points per game in its three blowout wins, but Eagles head coach Paul Meyers knows all too well how tough West Chester East can be. Meyers talked about the Vikings after practice earlier in the week.
“West Chester East is going to be very tough,” Meyers said.” They are very well coached and they have really good skill players in (Jaret) Cooper, (Alex) Hirsch and (J.D.) Carroll. Their quarterback (JT Thompson) is also playing very well and filing in nicely for Jon Jon Roberts. They are playing with a lot of confidence right now and this game will come down to who makes the least mistakes.”
This should be a very close game, but I think that Shanahan’s offensive line, led by Jake Colby, will be the difference here. Both teams are playing solid defense but the Eagles look a little more balanced offensively.
The Pick: Bishop Shanahan 21, West Chester East 17
Coatesville at West Chester Henderson
The other big Ches-Mont National battle features Coatesville, fresh off a 54-20 wipeout of Council Rock North, visiting surprising West Chester Henderson. Coatesville rebounded from a loss to Cumberland Valley and got big games from quarterback Ricky Ortega, who completed 14 of his 16 passes and Aaron Young, who scored an incredible six touchdowns.
“The thing about Henderson is no matter who they have they play as hard as anybody we face,” said Coatesville coach Matt Ortega. “They are in the spread offense right now and the kids are excited about the offense and they are making plays. We had a good win over C.R. North because we really challenged the kids last week in practice to play well against C.R. North and they went out and executed the game plan perfectly and that is a real good thing when you can get kids to do that. We always play tough games with Henderson.”
The Warriors have not allowed a touchdown in their last nine periods, but Coatesville just has too much offense for them to handle.
The Pick: Coatesville 28, West Chester Henderson 14
Avon Grove at Downingtown East
Downingtown East got a huge game from its big offensive line in the Cougars’ 28-7 win over Roman Catholic. running back Dan Liaudaitis ran the ball 35 times for 174 yards and two scores. The Red Devils were shut out, 20-0, by Unionville, and this will be a tougher test than that game was because the East front lines, on both sides of the ball, are the best in the Ches-Mont.
The Pick: Downingtown East 35, Avon Grove 13
Downingtown West at Kennett
Downingtown West is arguably the best 0-3 team in the state, and now that the murderous part of the Whippets’ nonleague schedule is over, they hope to rebound. Kennett has won two in a row, and the program seems to be on the rise, but the Whippets have too much talent for the home team. Expect an angry group of Whippets to look at really laying one on the Blue Demons.
The Pick: Downingtown West 42, Kennett 14
Octorara at Great Valley
This is a bad time for the undermanned Braves to be visiting, as the Patriots are going to be in a foul mood after losing to Glen Mills, which had 350 yards rushing. Octorara’s Scott Burridge should be able to gain some yards on the ground, but Great Valley should put up a lot of points here.
The Pick: Great Valley 42, Octorara 14
West Chester Rustin at Unionville
Both teams are struggling offensively and need the game for any playoff hopes. Rustin has not really been able to run the ball at all in its three losses.
The Pick: Unionville 21, Rustin 17
Sun Valley at Oxford
Sun Valley is vastly improved. The Vanguards’ 3-0 start is their best in six years. Quarterback Gabe Boccella is a dual threat throwing and running the football and will test the Hornets defense. Oxford is 1-2, but could easily be undefeated. Oxford blew out Phoenixville 32-6 in a game where the defense allowed the Phantoms only 135 yards of total offense. An upset is the pick here.
The Pick: Oxford 21, Sun Valley 20.
Conestoga at Marple Newtown
Marple has a quality quarterback in Anthony Paoletti, who has thrown for over 4,000 yards in his two-plus seasons at the helm. Conestoga is doing nothing offensively and has not scored a touchdown this season. This could get ugly.
The Pick: Marple Newtown 34, Conestoga 7
Pope John XXII (N.J.) at Malvern Prep
The Friars held La Salle to just 98 yards through the air in a win last week. Pope John is 1-0, and one of the better prep teams in New Jersey, but Malvern should get a home win.
The Pick: Malvern Prep 24, Pope John XXII 13.