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PETE’S PICKS: Peter DiGiovanni predicts Coatesville vs. Downingtown East and 8 other games

Week 9 is here and everything else is overshadowed by the game of the year in the Ches-League, and possibly District 1.

Friday’s Games

No. 5 Coatesville at No. 4 Downingtown East

Coatesville, the fifth-ranked team in the Pa. Prep Live Top 20, takes on the No. 4 Downingtown East Cougars at Kottmeyer Stadium, with the National Division title on the line along with a big leg up in the District 1 Class 6A playoff points.

East head coach Mike Matta knows how tough the high powered Red Raiders can be, and he talked about some problems Coatesville will present.

“Coatesville is an elite team,” Matta said. “As a matter of fact they might be the best team we have played since I have been at Downingtown East. They have their usual speed skill guys but they have another three or four elite speed guys. The quarterback (Ricky Ortega) understands the game and is hard to get to the ground and has gotten significantly better from last year when he was very good.

“On offense, they used to be a home run team, which they still are, but now can go the long way if need be. This is attributed to the quarterback. On defense this might be their best team since this coaching staff has been there. They play very fast and hard. We will need to play our best and catch a few breaks along with them not playing well for us to have a chance.”

Coatesville has out scored its last five opponents by a margin of 287-26 and with Ortega directing the offense along with junior running back Aaron Young, the Red Raiders are nearly impossible to stop. Throw in the fleet receiving corps of Dapree Bryant, Mekhi Alexander and Kathero Summers and Coatesville becomes a defense’s nightmare. Downingtown East has had a lot of success running the football this season and the Cougars are going to have to go on some long drives to keep the Red Raider offense off the field.

Coatesville appears to have the edge on the outside on the Downingtown East secondary, but the Cougars stand a chance if they can get to Ortega, which is easier said than done because the sophomore is very quick and can throw the ball effectively on the run.

Too many “ifs” for the Cougars. I like the Ville.

The Pick: Coatesville 35, Downingtown East 21

OXford at Bishop Shanahan

A big game in the 5A bracket is Oxford visiting Bishop Shanahan, and both are coming off big wins. Both will be 5A playoff teams and both squads have explosive offenses, as the Hornets piled up 55 points on Kennett last week. Bishop Shanahan blew out Downingtown West, 41-14.

Shanahan head coach Paul Meyers talked about how potent the oxford squad is.

“Oxford is very explosive offensively, Meyers said. “They have a well balanced passing and running game. They score a to of points and they play fast. We will need to try to do some things on defense to slow down their pace.”

The Pick: Bishop Shanahan 31, Oxford 21

Avon Grove at West Chester Henderson

Avon Grove had its four-game winning streak snapped as Coatesville blew out the Red Devils, 42-6, and limited Kevin Francis, the county’s leading rusher, to just 55 yards. Francis should get considerably more against a Warrior defense that gave up 37 points to West Chester East last week.

The Pick: Avon Grove 28, West Chester Henderson 14

Downingtown West at West Chester East

Downingtown West will not qualify for the playoffs for the second year in a row, and with Jared Cooper back for West Chester East, this becomes a strange game that should come down to who wants it more.

The Pick: Downingtown West 34, West Chester East 24

Octorara at Kennett

Kennett needs a win to keep its 5A playoff hopes alive. Quarterback Jake Dilcher is back from injury and he had a nice game against Oxford last week, throwing for 316 yards and three touchdowns.

The Pick: Kennett 35, Octorara 13

No. 16 Unionville at Sun Valley

Unionville suffered its first defeat of the season, 45-21, to Downingtown East last week but the Indians should rebound here against a Sun Valley squad that gave up 70 points to Rustin last week. The Indians’ Alex Gorgone should have a big day throwing the football.

The Pick: Unionville 42, Sun Valley 21

Malvern Prep at Episcopal Academy

Malvern needs this game to continue its quest for the outright Inter-Academic League title and Friar head coach Dave Gueriera is going back to play a program where he was the offensive coordinator five years ago.

The Pick: Malvern Prep 28, Episcopal Academy 21

Conestoga at Ridley

Conestoga has not had much offense all season, and coming off a 13-2 loss to a bad Penncrest team, all signs point to a big Ridley win at home.

The Pick: Ridley 31, Conestoga 10

Saturday’s game

West Chester Rustin at Great Valley

Both teams are coming off wins and Rustin poured 70 points on Sun Valley last week. Great Valley has given up a lot of yardage on the ground this season and the Golden Knights will feature Ty Pringle early and often in this one.

The Pick: West Chester Rustin 31, Great Valley 21

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