The district playofffs are here and the area is well reprented as Chester County put two teams in the 6A bracket and six teams in the very contentious 5A bracket, where it appears as many as 10 teams are capable of taking home the crown.
And Malvern Prep has a big road test at Penn Charter that will go a long way to deciding the Inter-Academic League champion.
We also have a pair of 5A games that pit two Ches-Mont League teams against each other and the Ches-Mont American Divsion champion, Unionville will host a hard luck West Chester East squad that has dropped its three final games of the regular season.
West Chester East at Unionville
The Indians are playing good football and have won four games in a row, thanks largely to strong defense, as the Indians have allowed just over 10 points per game during that span. The Vikings have dropped their last three games but were in two of those — loses to Downingtown West and West Chester Henderson.
In the Henderson loss, the Vikings committed four turnovers and East head coach Dave Gueriera talked about what his team must do to advance past the Indians.
“Unionville is a very well coached gritty team,” Gueriera said. “They do not make many mistakes. Their defense is one of the best we will have faced this season. We will have to play mistake free football in all thre ephases of football to have a chance at victory.”
Unionville is the better defensive team, but the Vikings defense has been solid all season. What has hurt East in the last three games have been turnovers and penalties. With running back Jared Cooper and a bevy of good receivers, I am counting on the Viking offense to eliminate the mistakes here and come away with a hard fought victory.
The Pick: West Chester East 17, Unionville 14
West Chester Rustin at Bishop Shanahan
These two teams are very evenly matched and the Golden Knights have won five of their last six, with the only loss coming last week when Rustin was overwhelmed by Coatesville. Shanahan has only lost three games this season, two to the Downingtown twins and one to Coatesville, in a game the Eagles stayed in until midway through the third quarter. Shanahann head coach Paul Meyers is very wary of the Knights and head coach Mike St. Clair.
“I think Rustin is playing real good footbal right now,” Meyers said. “They have a really good running game now with all three of their backs. We will try and force them to pass the footballl. Defensively, their defensive line is fast and very physical. I think it is going to come down to the team that makes the least mistakes.”
Rustin has the edge in the offesnive backfield with Ty Pringle, Brandon Frazier and Kevin Sweeney, but the edge the Eagles have is quarterback Nick Skulski, who has had a very productive season running and throwing the ball. The Eagles should be able to control the Rustin run game with Jack Wahlen leading the Eagles defense and put the Golden Knights in passing situations.
The Pick: Bishop Shanahan 28, West Chester Rustin 23
Sun Valley at West Chester Henderson
These are two teams moving in opposite directions coming into the playoffs. Sun Valley has dropped three in a row and has been severly outscored in those games. But, the Vanguards have a good quarterback in Gabe Boccella, who has thrown for over 1,000 yards this season.
Henderson will run the football and try to control the clock on the Vanguards and Sun Valley does not look like they can stop CJ Preston, who comes into the game with 1,283 yards rushing. Henderon has come back from a 1-9 season in 2015 and head coach Steve Mitten and his staff and kids deserve a ton of credit for that. I don’t think the run stops here.
The Pick: West Chester Henderson 31, Sun Valley 14
Glen Mills at Great Valley
Glen Mills rushed for over 300 yards against Great Valley in the third game of the season, when the Bulls prevailed, 35-20. The Patriots have the edge at quarterback with Robert Geiss, and are better on the edge than the Bulls, but I think Glen Mills will control the line of scrimmage again.
The Pick: Glen Mills 28, Great Valley 24
Souderton at Downingtown East
Souderton comes from the powerful Suburban One League, and that alone gives the Indians credibility. Souderton is a wing-T club that averages 31 points per game, and that caused Downingtown East head coach Mike Matta to take notice.
“Souderton is a well-coached team,” Matta said. “They are very physical and they play the game very hard. Their fullback is very good and the quarterback has thrown for over 1,000 yards this season. We will have our work cut out for us in this game.”
Fullback Koby Khan can run between the tackles and the quarterback Joey Curotto is very accurate, but I don’t think Souderton will be able to keep the Cougar front line from causing havoc. The East defense has only played one bad game, and that wass the 40-8 loss to Coatesville. Souderton does not have the same athletes as the Red Raiders.
The Pick: Downingtown East 23, Souderton 14
Abington at Coatesville
Abington is a 6-4 team from Suburban One, but the Ghosts have a special back in Daryl Davis, who has 1,887 rushing yards with 18 touchdowns this season. Davis missed the Ghosts’ final game of the regular season, a loss to North Penn, with a hip flexor, but he is expected to play Friday.
Defensively, Abington has a senior secondary led by Temple recruit George Reid, who is also a capable receiver, catching 31 balls this season. But, Coatesville has reeled off eight wins in a row and has averaged 42 points per game during that span.
Quarterback Ricky Ortega and Aaron Young have been unstoppable for the last eight games and this looks like the first step to a semifinal showdown with North Penn.
The Pick: Coatesville 38, Abington 21
Malvern Prep at Penn Charter
Both squads have 3-1 marks inthe Inter-Ac, and this game will likely secure a share of the league title for the winner. Penn Charter has a big time quarterback in senior Mike Hnatkowsky, who has thrown for over 3,000 yards in his career.
The Pick: Penn Charter 28, Malvern Prep 26
Chichester at Avon Grove
Avon Grove has played hard in every game this season, which is a testament to how the kids feel about head coach Harry O’Neill. Running back Nate Jones should end his stellar career with a big game.
The Pick: Avon Grove 35, Chichester 21