CALN >> A perfect dozen. Two seasons through the Ches-Mont League National Division without a blemish for the Coatesville football team.
The Red Raiders took advantage of three Shanahan turnovers as they scored the game’s first 21 points, then the last 34 en route to a dominant 55-13 triumph to clinch their second straight Ches-Mont National crown Friday at Coatesville Stadium.
“It feels amazing,” said Coatesville senior Alex Raimondo, who had a sack on the evening. “All the hard work paid off. We have a close bond together as a team and I think it shows when we play and it paid off these last two seasons.”
Aaron Young had another tremendous evening, combining for four touchdowns — three rushing, one receiving.
“He’s a special player,” said Ortega. “He comes out and plays every week. Tonight, we called on him and he made the plays when we needed it.”
Neither team moved the ball far on its first series. Coatesville took over on the Shanahan 33. On the seventh play of the drive, on a 3rd-and-8, quarterback Ricky Ortega hit Kahtero Summers over the middle, he then waltzed in for a 19-yard score.
On the first play of the next series, Shanahan QB Andrew Smyth fumbled on a keeper and Coatesville recovered on the Eagles’ 23. Young took a pitch on the next play, received a big block, and scooted 23 yards for the score. The Red Raiders scored 14 points in 23 seconds to take an early stranglehold.
“It’s great to be back-to-champions,” said Young. “Each week we’re getting better and better blocking upfield, so I have to give credit to the wideouts for blocking me. They do a great job. Everything just opened for me.”
Coatesville used another short drive — this time, three plays — to open up a 21-0 advantage with 2:33 in the first. Ortega found Young out in the open, and he sped in for a 27-yard score.
Shanahan mounted a little bit of a fight back. On the second play of the second quarter, Steve Sweeney took a jet sweep, the same play he scored last week against Oxford, got outside and outran the defense for a 40-yard score.
“I think we could’ve had a little more fight,” said Shanahan coach Paul Meyers. “In the second half, things didn’t go our way and we fell behind too quick. The first half, we did fight.”
The next time they had the ball, the Eagles quieted the Coatesville crowd with one quick strike. On a 3rd-and-8, the middle of the field was open, and Shanahan attacked as Dan DiBeneditto made a fingertip catch of a Smyth pass and strolled in for a 72-yard touchdown. Shanahan missed the extra point to close to 21-13 with 5:24 to play.
But, then, the proverbial house fell in.
A 35-yard pass from Ortega to Summers put the ball on the Shanahan six yard line. Young slithered in on the next play.
The Red Raiders tacked on one more score before halftime as Ortega hit Dapree Bryant in the corner of the end zone from six yards out to take a 34-13 advantage into the break.
The second half started in weird fashion with three consecutive turnovers. Shanahan started off the parade as a little bit of razzle-dazzle went awry as Young intercepted a DiBeneditto halfback pass.
Four plays later, Ortega fumbled and Shanahan took over at midfield. The Eagles give the ball back to Coatesville as Smyth was sacked by John Clifford, and fumbled, with Coatesville recovering.
Young then ended the rash of miscues by taking matters into his own hands — and feet. He broke a tackle in the Shanahan secondary, juked his way past a defender, then dashed into the end zone for a 41-13 lead.
“The mistakes were brutal,” said Meyers. “Too many of them against a team like that, that’s what the final score’s gonna be.”
Young finished the night with 137 yards on the ground as the Red Raiders polished the regular season at 6-0 in the National, and 9-1 overall. The Eagles fell to 3-3 and 7-3.
Both teams await the brackets to learn their first-round opponents in the district playoffs. Shanahan will be seeded in Class 5A while Coatesville is expected to have a home game in 6A.
“Next goal, district championship,” said Raimondo. “That’s great, just to know we’re back here. We love playing here, so it’s great to know we’ll be back here.”
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