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Coatesville explodes to beat Downingtown East, advance to District 1 semifinal

CALN >> Three weeks ago, Coatesville needed some last-second heroics to defeat Downingtown East.

Friday night, it was much easier for the Red Raiders.

[PETE BANNAN’S PHOTO GALLERY FROM FRIDAY’S GAME]

Despite the frigid temperatures at Red Raider Stadium, the fifth-seeded Red Raiders were smoking hot on offense as they jumped all over Downingtown East, taking apart the Cougars, 62-41, and sending Coatesville into the District 1 Class 6A semifinals Friday at home against No. 9 Pennsbury. The Falcons upset the top overall seed, Neshaminy.

Coatesville rolled up an astonishing 602 yards of total offense and accumulated 30 first downs in a very impressive offensive performance. The Coatesville (11-1) defense also held the Cougars (10-2) to just seven points in the first half before the game got out of hand in the second.

“The difference between the first game and this game is that we saw what they did and we prepared for all their stuff,” Coatesville quarterback Ricky Ortega said. “We picked up their blitzes and I hit the hot receiver and we jumped on them early and took them out of the game.”

Ortega was sensational for the Red Raiders as he completed 15 of 25 passes for 224 yards and four touchdowns, and rushed for 110 more yards in a display of brilliance not usually seen at the high school level. He consistently darted through Cougar defenders for extra yardage and his passing was pinpoint much of the night.

“They are a very talented team but make no mistake about it, No. 1 (Ortega) makes that team go,” said Downingtown East head coach Mike Matta. “Things got away fom us early and against a team like that it can become a tidal wave.”

Coatesville blocked a Cougar punt that was recovered by C.J. Brown in the first quarter, and five plays later Ortega hit Kathero Summers, who was wide open in the end zone, with a 27 yard touchdown pass to make it 6-0. With the Coatesville defense, led by Alex Raimaondo and Johnny Clifford, shutting down the Cougar offense, Aaron Young, who rushed for 157 yards, scored the next two touchdowns and it was a 20-0 Red Raider lead after just one quarter.

“I feel I am a big part of the offense and it was important to score early and when we did it took their confidence away,” Summers said. “We studied what they did to us the first time and practiced hard and came out and took their will tonight.”

The Downingtown East offense did virtually nothing in the first half as the Red Raiders shut down the Cougar running game and had quarterback Bryce Lauletta on the run most of the time with Raimondo recording four sacks by himself.

Downingtown East showed some life early in the second period when Lauletta hit a streaking Jack Riley with a slant pattern for a 27 yard touchdown pass to make it a 20-7 game.

But the Cougars could not slow the Coatesville blitzkrieg down for long.

Avery Young took a 20 yard pass from Ortega to the end zone, dragging a Cougar defender with him for a 26-7 lead. Then the sensational Dapree Bryant hauled in a 10 yard strike from Ortega to make it a 34-7 halftime lead and Coatesville was home free.

“Our defense shut them down in the firs half,” said Coatesville head coach Matt Ortega. “Our D coordinator E.J. Moyer did a great job getting the kids ready to play. And we did not play that well the first time we played them. The points they scored in the second half might have been our kids losing focus a little bit.”

Downingtown East showed life in the second half, scoring 35 second half points behind the hard running of Brassir Stocker, who broke free for an 86 yard touchdown run to make it a 14-point game with just over eight minutes to play. But, Coatesville took the ensuing kickoff and drove down the field to seal the deal when Bryant skirted the left side for a five yard touchdown run and the Cougars’ season was over, while Coatesville was looking ahead to Pennsbury.

“We never felt we were in trouble of losing the lead,” Ricky Ortega said. “We knew we could score pretty much anytime so we were very confident.”

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