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No. 8 Downingtown East explodes in 61-44 win over No. 7 North Penn

DOWNINGTOWN >> As two of the most storied teams in the long history of District 1 football, North Penn and Downingtown East have often been known for their punishing defenses.

Friday night saw a much different chapter being written into those history books.

The two teams — who entered the night ranked seventh (North Penn) and eighth (East) in the Pa. Prep Live Top 20 — set an all-time points record for Kottmeyer Stadium by combining for 95 points, 40 first downs and 900 yards of total offense. When the blitzkrieg ended it was the host Cougars, who scored 27 unanswered points at the end of the first half and in the third quarter, coming away with a resounding 61-44 triumph in nonleague action.

“I never thought that this game would be a shootout like this,” Downingtown East lineman Connor Munnelly said. “We usually play close defensive style games but we took it to them tonight with our running game and we were the fresher team in the second half. We wanted to get them back for last season.”

The first half featured five lead changes between the teams as they both seemed able to score at will. The Cougars’ (2-0) Brassir Stocker, who rushed for 150 yards on just 14 carries, returned a kickoff 93 yards in the second period to send the faithful at Kottmeyer into hysterics. Stocker ran hard all night and was, along with Tim Aivado and Garvey Jonassaint, something to watch all night as the Cougars rushed the football for an incredible 380 yards on the Knights defense.

“Our offensive line is very good,” Stocker said. “They work so hard all summer long and they lift weights and they did a great job for me all night. And we scored so many points I think North Penn got down a little bit. They are not used to things like this.”

The Knights (0-2) got a huge game from senior wide receiver Justis Henley, who hauled in 11 of Steve DePaul’s passes for 218 yards and two touchdowns.

“We did not stop their running game and we left some chances out there,” Henley said. “But, we will regroup and get going.”

North Penn took a 30-27 lead into the locker room at halftime but the Cougars took the second half kick and went on a 11-play drive that ended when quarterback Bryce Lauletta went in from one yard out. After that, Downingtown East scored the next two touchdowns, a 13-yard run by Aivado and a 45-yard jaunt from Stocker that put the Cougars in control of the wild affair at 47-30 with 5:34 left in the third.

“We felt pretty good at halftime,” Downingtown East head coach Mike Matta said. “We made some mistakes in the first half by trying to do too much. And this year we have three different style backs that keep teams off balance and this is the best offensive line we have ever had here, and we have had some good ones. Brassir is explosive, Tim Aivado will run you over and Jonassaint is very shifty. In the past we have not had that mix. and our quarterback Bryce Lauletta is a real leader. And our strength program led by coach Darren Wasser is top notch and it showed tonight.”

North Penn closed the gap to 47-37 when DePaul, who threw for 299 yards and four scores, hit Henley down the left side for a 41 yard touchdown and the Knights seemed to have life, down 47-37 with two minutes to play in the third period.

But, the night belonged to the Cougars as they went on another long drive to take time off the clock. And when Lauletta went in from a yard out, there were just over eight minutes to play and the Knights were up against the wall.

When all was said and done, the Cougars fired a very loud warning shot to the rest of District 1.

“I thought we would have played better defense tonight,” North Penn head coach Dick Beck said. “They just lined up and kicked our butts tonight and they kept it up all night and we took it. Nothing fancy, just a beating.”

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