CALN >> When Coatesville took the field for the first round of the District 1 playoffs Friday night, the Red Raiders welcomed Harry S. Truman with open arms. Coatesville knew the Tigers would have to stop Aaron Young to have a chance at the upset, and by the end of the first half, Young had accounted for 227 all-purpose yards and three touchdowns.
By the start of the third quarter, the Tigers were already worn out.
Behind the dominant running performance of Young and the air attack by Ricky Ortega, the Red Raiders beat Truman, 51-22, and will move on for an anticipated rematch with rival Downingtown East next week.
“I’m really proud of them,” said Truman coach Mike LaPalombara. “The first quarter we had them going for a while and we were right there with them, but then we had the fumble and the snap issue on the punt and that started swinging it to the other direction.”
Truman started the game off in control. Javeer Peterson returned the opening kickoff 53 yards and set up the Tigers on Coatesville’s 36-yard line. After two short runs from David Akinwande and Sayyid Saunders, Saunders took the third-down handoff and bounced it out off the right tackle. Once Saunders got the edge, he was gone.
“They have great players,” said coach Matt Ortega. “We knew they had fast players and they came out and showed us a new formation. They had us out-leveraged on that one play, but we came back and I don’t think they had much after that for the next two quarters.”
Coatesville quickly rallied with its first possession of the night. Aaron Young was a workhorse on the first drive and allowed Ortega to throw a bomb down the field to Mekhi Alexander. Double covered, Alexander reached up at the last possible second and pulled in the ball. His momentum did the rest as he beat both defenders to the end zone.
If one had no idea that this was a football game, watching the players race against each other would have made them think it was a track meet.
Destined to get his team back on top, former track champion Peterson returned the second kickoff for 57 yards and put the Tigers in position to start up at Coatesville’s 34-yard line.
A Truman fumble would give the ball away, however, and once Aaron Young got the chance to get the ball again, he took the handoff 71 yards on a dazzling run. And while the start was good, the finish was even better. After running past every Truman defender, Young finished as if he was breaking the tape in a track race.
“I have to give a lot of credit to my linemen,” said Young. “The O-line did a great job blocking for me and the skill guys did a great job staying on their blocks downfield. It feels great scoring four touchdowns. Half the time my instincts just took over.”
After Young scored his second touchdown on a 15-yard run up the middle, Coatesville would go on to score 19 unanswered points and seal the win for the Red Raiders before the half.
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