DOWNINGTOWN >> Rarely do big events live up to the hype. Friday night at Kottmeyer Stadium, the Battle of the Brandywine more than lived up to its billing, and then some.
Downingtown East and Downingtown West went at each other furiously for 48 minutes. The Cougars broke a halftime tie to hold off the upset-minded Whippets, 28-14, in the Ches-Mont League National Division football game.
The win was fourth straight for East in the series, which now stands at 9-5 in favor of East.
“It feels great to get them four times in a row,” Downingtown East receiver Jack Riley said. “We just came out in the second half and played Downingtown football and we dominated up front. This is a great event and it is such a big rivalry, it feels great to come out on top.”
Downingtown West (0-3, Ches-Mont National, 3-4 overall) tied the game at 7-7 in the second quarter when superlative sophomore quarterback Will Howard bulled in from three-yards out. Howard threw for 262 yards on the night on 19 of 27 passing.
The Whippets were stopped on a fourth-and-inches by the East (4-0, 7-0) defense earlier in the period or the Whippets would have gone into the locker room with the lead.
The Cougars took the second-half kickoff and promptly went back to their patented running attack. East used Brassir Stocker a lot in the second half. He gained 160 yards on 26 carries with two touchdowns. East took the lead after going on a 80-yard, 10-play drive — all runs — when Stocker went 15 yards to bring the ball down to the West five.
Two plays later, Bryce Lauletta went in from the one for a 13-7 advantage after the PAT was blocked.
“We made some defensive adjustments at halftime,” Downigntown East head coach Mike Matta said. “We also made a decision to run the football and it worked out. (West coach) Mike Milano has a lot of pride and his kids played very well. It feels good to get out of here with a win.”
After stopping the Whippets on a three-and-out, the Cougars went on another scoring drive with Stocker and Garvey Jonassaint running behind the mammoth offensive line. Stocker finished the eight-play drive by going around the left side for a 21-7 lead. Stocker set up the eventual winning score with a 20-yard run to the 10.
“At halftime, coach told us to just go out and do what we do,” Stocker said. “And we did that. We just ran the ball and got after them. To beat them four years in a row is a very big thing.”
Downingtown West was not done. Two plays after taking the kickoff, Howard hooked up with Josh Willenbrock for a beautiful 78-yard pass and run to cut the lead to 21-14 with 11:24 to play in the fourth.
But with East grinding up yardage on the ground, the Cougars advanced the ball and ran down the clock.
Downingtown East, which rushed for 301 yards on the nigh, asserted themselves in the fourth, controlling the football for eight minutes of the final period. Stocker sealed the win by going up the middle for a five-yard TD run with 7:37 to play.
West tried to come back again, but could not find the magic as Howard could not record a first down.
“I am real proud of my kids effort,” Downingtown West coach Mike Milano said. “We got two kids back on defense and they are both sophomores and that helped. But, to come back after the loss we had last week and play like this, I am real proud of the effort of our kids.”
Note: Owen Landis had a big night for West, hauling in 10 passes for 100 yards.