CALN >> Many football observers thought the young Coatesville football team was a year away from any kind of championship or high seeding for the district playoffs.
Well, the Red Raiders grew up in a hurry as Coatesville took the Ches-Mont National Division title with a resounding 41-14 win over Bishop Shanahan Friday night at Red Raider Stadium. Coatesville picked off four passes by Shanahan’s Nick Skulski, three of them by Ed Clark, who was all over the field Friday for the rabid Coatesville defense.
“These were my first three interceptions of my career,” Clark said. “And it is very exciting to get them on a night we won the Ches-Mont League going undefeated in the league. It is really a great feeling and all the credit goes to my coaches and my teammates. We are all in this together and we have bigger goals now in the district playoffs. And our student section comes out every game to cheer us on and it is fun to play for them.”
Coatesville (6-0 Ches-Mont, 8-1 overall) won its seventh consecutive game after a Week 2 loss to Cumberland Valley and the Red Raiders jumped out to a 14-0 lead at halftime over the stubborn Eagles (2-3, 6-3). After Shanahan failed to convert on a fourth and six play, it took the Red Raiders just two plays to score the first touchdown of the game.
Quarterback Ricky Ortega bolted 56 yards up the middle to put the ball on the Eagles 2 yard line. On the next play, Aaron Young scored from two yards out for a 7-0 lead. After Clark picked Skulski for the second time of the night, Coatesville struck quickly again as Ortega floated a beautiful 74-yard touchdown toss to Aaron Young and Coatesville had a 14-0 halftime edge.
The Coatesville defense held Shanahan to virtually nothing on the ground. The only Shanahan run longer than six yards was a third quarter 69-yard burst from Josh Burke around the left side for an Eagles touchdown that cut the Coatesville lead to 21-7. Coatesville scored three touchdowns in the third period, outscoring Shanahan 20-7 in the period to take a 34-7 lead and put the game out of the Eagles reach.
Avery Young returned Skulski’s fourth interception of the night, going 26 yards untouched after Skulski tried to hit John Kozinski on the right sideline. Aaron Young then finished a short Red Raiders drive at the end of the third period, going in from two yards out for his third touchdown of the night.
And the Eagles’ usually potent offense could not get anything going as the Red Raiders shut down the run and forced Skulski to throw on the run most of the night. Take away Burke’s touchdown run and Shanahan had just 68 yards on the ground. Alex Raimondo had a big game up front for the Red Raiders and he talked about winning the Ches-Mont and going undefeated in the league.
“We really wanted to win the league and we did that,” Raimondo said. “after the Cumberland Valley loss we worked harder in the weight room and at practice and we took things more seriously so maybe it was a good thing to get us grounded. Our coaches give us a good plan and we try to execute it.”
With Coatesville holding a 34-7 advantage, head coach Matt Ortega cleared his bench after Jadan Hudson took a 46 yard pass from Ortega to make it a 41-7 game. Ortega completed 10 of 16 passes for 203 yards and two touchdowns and had to endure numerous high snaps from center most of the night. Andrew Smyth finished the scoring as the Eagles’ backup quarterback rolled around the left side late in the game to make the final score 41-14.
Coatesville can now look ahead to the regular season final against West Chester Rustin next week in a game for playoff positioning as the Red Raiders try to land in the top four and secure at least two home games.
Shanahan hosts Avon Grove next week in a game the Eagles have to win to get a first round home game in the District 1 5A playoffs. Shanahan head coach Paul Meyers was not looking that far ahead.
“You cannot beat a team as good as they are by turning the ball over five times,” Meyers said. “That took us out of the game and we did not take care of the ball.”