It seems like the football season just started, but we are already into Week 9, and area teams have just two regular season games left before their respective district playoffs begin. Tonight, many games will decide playoff positioning and Coatesville can claim the outright Ches-Mont National Division title with a win over visiting Bishop Shanahan.
Bishop Shanahan at Coatesville
Coatesville has been on a roll, winning its last six games and averaging 37.5 points per game in that stretch. The Coatesville defense has also played well as they have allowed just 22 points in the last two wins. Ed Clark, Alex Raimondo and Avery Young are the stalwarts of the Red Raider defense.
Bishop Shanahan comes into the game off a tough 28-21 loss to Downingtown East in a game the Eagles led after three periods before getting worn down by the big East front. Bishop Shanahan head coach Paul Meyers talked about how tough the Red Raiders are and what his team has to do to stay in the contest.
“We really have to limit the big plays,” Meyers said. “We have to force them to sustain drives and if they score early we have to be able to withstand it by moving the football. Offensively, we have to cause deception for them and give them some different looks. We will try to spread them out to create space and use the clock to try to keep their offense off the field.”
Coatesville is really purring right now, and with playmakers like Aaron Young, who has rushed for over 1,1000 yards already and quarterback Ricky Ortega, who completed 14 of 19 passes for 232 yards in the 38-14 win over Avon Grove, the Eagles are just going to have too many guys to stop.
The Pick: Coatesville 35, Bishop Shanahan 21.
West Chester East at Downingtown East
East looked very impressive last week in a 28-14 road victory over Sun Valley. The Vikings held Sun Valley quarterback Gabe Boccella to just 29 yards passing and just 110 total yards of offense. Two weeks ago, the Vikings lost to Downingtown West in the last second in a game the Vikings should have won, and Downingtown East head coach Mike Matta talked about how scary a team West Chester East can be.
“West Chester East is very well coached with a lot of good athletes,” Matta said. “They have played everyone tough this year and it will take a complete game from us to beat them. The quarterback (JT Thompson) throws the ball real well and the halfback (Jared Cooper), is one of the better ones in the league.
Downingtown East ran the wildcat formation with success in the 28-21 win over Bishop Shanahan. The object of the new formation is to get the ball into Jeremy Jennings hands more, and if the Vikings can stop that, maybe, just maybe, an upset looms here.
The Pick: W.C. East 24, Downingtown East 21.
West Chester Henderson at Great Valley
This is a game that will impact the seeds both teams get in the upcoming District 1 5A playoffs. Henderson should have an advantage up front, where Great Valley has been decimated by injuries to its offensive line. Warrior running back C.J. Preston had a big game in Henderson’s 14-7 win over Downingtown West last week. Preston carried the ball 24 times for 266 yards and a touchdown and I don’t think the Patriots can slow him down enough to get their potent offense back on the field. If Great Valley can slow down the Warriors running game, they will prevail because the Patriots will score points.
The Pick: West Chester Henderson 28, Great Valley 21
Kennett at Oxford
Kennett needs this game to qualify for the 5A playoff bracket, but will have to play without star Myles Robinson, who will miss the rest of the season with a broken wrist. Oxford played well in its 31-21 loss to Great Valley last week. The Hornets, who are 1-6, could easily have two or three more wins and I will go with the home team here.
The Pick: Oxford 34, Kennett 31
Sun Valley at West Chester Rustin
Rustin got running back Ty Pringle back last week and the junior rushed 14 times for 138 yards and four touchdowns. When you get Pringle and fellow running back Brandon Frazier together, the Golden Knights have a pretty potent ground game as their 247 yard night showed in last week’s 49-7 win over Octorara. Sun Valley’s defense is better than Octorara’s, but not enough to stop the Golden Knights.
The Pick: West Chester Rustin 42, Sun Valley 14
Octorara at Unionville
Unionville can take another step toward its second consecutive Ches-Mont American Division title with a win over the Braves, who are really struggling. Octorara, the smallest team in enrollment in the Ches-Mont League, is really up against it in football and the Indians should cruise here.
The Pick: Unionville 35, Octorara 13
Conestoga at Ridley
Conestoga has not generated much offensively all season and the Pioneers were shut out by Radnor, 10-0, last week. Ridley is arguably the best team in the Central League and this one should not be close.
The Pick: Ridley 40, Conestoga 10
Avon Grove at Downingtown West
This has been a tough year for Downingtown West, and the Whippets’ playoff hopes took a real hit last week in the 14-7 loss to West Chester Henderson. This game will be for pride and Avon Grove only averages 11 points per game. The Whippets should take this one at home.
The Pick: Downingtown West 28, Avon Grove 14.
Malvern Prep at Haverford School
After last week’s loss to Episcopal Academy, in a game the Friars got behind in early and then roared back to tie before a lsat second field goal beat them, Malvern got hurt by the Churchmen passing game. Malvern must run the table to claim a share of the Inter-Ac title, but the Friars have not beaten the Fords in three years. This looks like the time.
The Pick: Malvern Prep 21, Haverford School 20