CALN >> The District 1 Class 6A playoffs are supposed to be taut, tense affairs with most games that go deep into the fourth quarter before being decided.
Someone forgot to send that memo to Coatesville.
A week after putting up 61 points and 602 yards of total offense on Downingtown East, the Red Raiders blew the doors off Pennsbury, 42-2, to move to next Friday’s District 1 Class 6A final against Garnet Valley at the Jaguars’ Moe De Frank Stadium. It will be the Red Raiders’ first appearance in the district title game since 2014.
Friday night’s semifinal was really never in doubt as the Red Raiders jumped out to a 28-0 halftime lead and ended up putting the Falcons into the mercy rule early in the third quarter. Coatesville (12-1) quarterback Ricky Ortega was sensational again as he rushed for 128 yards and threw for 182 more in just over one half of football. Ortega made most of his yardage by going right up the middle of the Pennsbury (10-3) defense for good gains as Coatesville moved the ball with ridiculous ease.
“They were trying to take everything outside away from us,” Ortega said. “There was no linebacker or safety up the middle so I just decided to take what they gave me. This is going to be the fourth time Coatesville has played in a district championship game and we are ready. I feel we are battle-tested because we have played good teams like Cumberland Valley, D-East and Pennsbury. We are definitely looking forward to it.”
The crafty sophomore got things going right off the bat as the Red Raiders took the opening kickoff and went on an 11-play, 65-yard drive with Ortega taking it the final four yards to score and make it a 7-0 game. Meanwhile, the Coatesville defense, led by Alex Raimondo, Avery Young, Zach Hilliard and Johhny Clifford, held the Falcons to just 22 yards of total offense in the first half. Pennsbury did not muster a first down until there were three minutes left in the first half.
“Our coaches put us in good situations and we know what to expect,” Raimondo said. “And our offense scores so many points it takes the pressure off of our defense. Tonight, we just had fun out there and to play in a district title game is a big thing. The last time Coatesville went I was in the seventh grade and I told myself I wanted to go with my team. And to see the community behind us and excited is a great thing.”
Coatesville put the game out of reach in the second period, outscoring the Falcons, 21-0, in the period. Aaron Young scored from two yards out to make it a 14-0 game and after the fourth three and out for Pennsbury, Ortega went play action and hit a streaking Mekhi Alexander with a pretty 40 yard touchdown pass to make it a 21-0 game.
Pennsbury took the ensuing kickoff and showed some life, moving the football down to the Red Raider 30. On a third down play, Falcon quarterback Zach Demarchis overthrow his receiver and Aaron Young picked the ball off and weaved his way through the Falcons for an electrifying 92-yard interception return and Coatesville had Pennsbury by the throat at 28-0 at halftime.
“That was a big play,” Young said. “The guys blocked well for me. And I am real happy to play in a district title game. Last year we lost in this round so take things one step further is exciting.”
Coatesville, which has now scored 161 points in its three playoff games, put the game into the mercy rule early in the third period. Ortega hit Dapree Braynt for a 38-yard gain down to the Pennsbury 20, and one play later, the quarterback called his own number and dashed down the left sideline, breaking two tackles to cap a 20-yard touchdown run, making it 35-0, as the Red Raiders continued their stretch of making powerful District 1 teams look like cupcakes.
Coatesville piled up 398 yards of total offense and it could have been more, but head coach Matt Ortega called off the dogs. Ricky Ortega ended his splendid night by hitting a wide open Bryant for a 68-yard touchdown pass to make it 42-0 and the Coatesville first team had the rest of the night off.
“We watch a lot of film and our team is well prepared,” Aaron Young said. “Now, we get back to work for next week.”