Angeline leaving mark on Downingtown East

UWCHLAN — More the competitive, driven and demanding type, Downingtown East coach Mike Matta was downright gushy talking about his star tight end, Cary Angeline.

“No one I’ve ever coached ever compares to him,’ Matta said.

From a young coach, that statement might not make the same impact, but from Matta, who’s been coaching for three decades, it’s almost startling. Especially since Angeline is just a junior.

“He’s the best player in southeastern Pennsylvania,’ Matta said. “I’ve coached Keith Carter, who went to UCLA, Brandon Darlington, who went to Syracuse, and Tyler Kroft a few years ago, who’s at Rutgers now. I know tight ends, and (Angeline) is better than all of them. He’s bigger and has more range and he’s very athletic. He has a high IQ and is a naturally gifted guy.’

As we enter the final week of the regular season, a 1-6 showing by the Ches-Mont League in the 2013 playoffs is a year in the rear view mirror. Angeline is proving himself the type of player that the league lacked last postseason as soon as Coatesville’s Daquan Worley went down — someone who can single-handedly impact and win a game.

A week ago, with East’s season hanging in the balance after a loss to Bishop Shanahan the week before, Angeline not only helped save the Cougars’ season with a win over Downingtown West, but likely earned them a spot in District 1 Class AAAA playoffs. Angeline caught five passes for 82 yards and two scores and leads the National Division with 43 receptions, 691 yards and six touchdowns

At 6-foot-7, Angeline puts defenses at a disadvantage even when they have him covered. Take Angeline’s first TD against West when cornerback Thomas Mattioni was in proper position to defend the pass, but Angeline went up and caught Andrew Hudson’s pass above him.

“That’s the thing about him, he’s a great receiver and you can do everything right and he’s still able to make plays,’ West Chester Henderson coach Steve Mitten said. “He has the ability to make plays any time he wants to. His strength is he’s a great possession receiver, and any time (East) needs a play they can get the ball to him and get a first down. (Hudson) does a good job throwing it at a position for him to catch the ball.’

Angeline will likely become East’s first 1,000-point scorer on the basketball court this winter, but his future beyond high school will likely play out on a Division 1 football field. With 19 scholarship offers from the likes of Penn State, Michigan State and Vanderbilt, Angeline is one of the biggest recruits in the state. He is scheduled to visit the University of Oregon and the University of Miami next month.

“Growing up watching all the big-time schools on TV, to be getting offers from them is flattering and an honor,’ Angeline said.

Playing a year with the Marsh Creek Eagles and a few more at the Downingtown Young Whippets growing up, Angeline was always the tall kid. He eventually outgrew his older brother Ryley, who’s now listed as a tight end at the University of Delaware after playing running back for the Cougars the last three seasons.

Angeline’s size, mixed a 4.7 40-yard dash, makes for a smooth athlete that has everyone but himself cooing about his potential.

“I’ve always really enjoyed playing the game,’ Angeline said. “I hoped in high school, if I worked hard and did things the right way I could get a scholarship. I’ve worked very hard for it.’

Downingtown East is coming off its first losing season since 2003 and is likely heading back to the playoffs, win or lose against Henderson. Without a Harris running or catching the ball or a Lauletta throwing it, East has looked a bit different the past two seasons than in years prior.

But the same physical brand of offense is still intact. The Cougars went the first eight weeks of the season without a top-10 rusher in the area until Keith Conner broke through this week with 614 yards on the season. Jack Kincade and Nik Aivado have combined for 10 rushing TDs.

Having a running back by committee is not always ideal, but having a weapon in the pass game to keep the box less crowded helps any run game.

“(Angeline’s) very advantageous, because we can use him in any kind of route,’ Matta said. “He affects the game even when he doesn’t have the ball in his hands. His blocking is the most-improved part of his game. And even if he’s not playing great, he can do so many things so well that teams have to focus on him and other kids can step up.’

In week five, against West Chester East, Angeline ran a corner route from his tight end position. Hudson fired a pass up and away from the Viking defender right to a fully-extended Angeline. The junior took it from there, sprinting the rest of the way for a 78-yard score. It’s almost scary to see that size and that type of athleticism and know Angeline has another year to grow into his body.

“Barring any catastrophe, he’s gonna be the type of player in 10, 20 years where people say ‘ oh, I remember him,” Matta said

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