By Patrick Crossan
WEST CHESTER >> Friday’s game between Coatesville and West Chester Henderson was expected to be a competitive slugest between the 3-0 Warriors and 2-1 — but red-hot — Red Raiders.
In the end, it served as a statement that Coatesville is not to be taken lightly.
The Red Raiders showed off their high-powered offense from beginning to end, handing Henderson its first loss of the season by a score of 41-14.
Coatesville’s offensive playmakers helped the team to a tune of 427 rushing yards and 213 passing yards.
Coatesville head coach Matt Ortega was pleased with how the offense is coming along.
“It’s going well,” Ortega said. “We are starting to understand our team and what our guys are doing well. Again we are doing the small things off the field. We are practicing better than we ever have.”
The Young brothers, Aaron and Avery, were a big part of that offense.
Avery scored the first touchdown of the game off of a tricky halfback pass.
With five minutes to go in the first quarter, Coatesville was looking to convert a third and nine on Henderson’s 41-yard line. Quarterback Ricky Ortega took the snap out of the shotgun and was looking down the middle of the field. Much like Coatesville’s passing attack, it looked to be another pass out to the flat.
But, Ortega turned and pitched the ball to Mekhi Alexander for what the Henderson defense assumed was a draw play of some kind. But with all eyes on Alexander, Avery Young slipped past the secondary to haul in a pass from Alexander for a touchdown.
“My best friend Mekhi threw it and it was little league all over again,” Avery Young said. “It was just a fun experience.”
Avery caught three passes for 88 yards two touchdowns in the first half.
Last week, Aaron Young carried the Red Raiders with 154 yards and six touchdowns. Even though he didn’t have six touchdowns this week, Aaron provided 13 carries for 139 yards and two scores. He was a big part of moving the Coatesville offense on drives as seven of his rushes were for first downs.
“The line stepped up like last week,” Aaron said. “We just got to keep on improving.”
Quarterback Ricky Ortega seems to have found a comfort zone in throwing the ball, despite not being a seasoned Varsity player. The freshman threw efficiently, going 11-13 for 172 yards and three touchdowns. He also ran the ball eight times for 68 yards and a touchdown.
“It feels good to win,” the freshman Ortega said. “We keep working hard all week and my confidence keeps building up. I believe in my teammates more. The line is picking it up more and the team is understanding our offense better.”
Before this game, the Warriors had not allowed a touchdown in their last nine periods.
“Our kids fought and I can’t complain about the effort they gave,” said Henderson head coach Steve Mitten. “We made a lot of mental mistakes and that team beat us on the line of scrimmage defensively and offensively.”
Mitten said offensively the team couldn’t get anything going against Coatesville’s defense.
Henderson managed to score its two touchdowns in the fourth quarter.
CJ Preston scored their first one on a two-yard run up the middle. He finished the game with 15 carries for 52 yards and one touchdown. Routinely Preston was met at the line by a swarm of Coatesville defenders.
The Warriors’ other touchdown came off of a 70-yard run by Kavond Jones. Jones sped through a hole provided by the offensive line up the right sideline untouched.
With Coatesville up 21-0 with 10.3 seconds left in the second quarter, Henderson decided to go for it on fourth down on its own 37-yard line. With 6.9 seconds left the Warriors turned the ball over on a run that was stuffed at the line.
Out of the shotgun, Ortega then scrambled around to the left, spinning out of a Henderson player’s arms, for all of the 6.9 seconds on the clock. Down the field, he found Avery Young on a 38-yard touchdown to end the half, sending the Red Raiders into halftime 28-0.
“I feel like we are improving every week on both sides of the ball,” coach Ortega said. “We are going to take it one game at a time and keep working hard. Next one is Downingtown (West) and it is going to be our best week of practice and we hope to continue to get better each week.”
Coatesville will look to show off its offense to their home crowd Friday night against the Whippets.
Meanwhile, Henderson will face another tough test with a trip to 4-0 Bishop Shanahan on tap.