For much of the season, opposing defenses tried to figure out how to stop Coatesville’s running back, Aaron Young, from running all over the field. When Pennsbury came to play the Red Raiders in the District 6A Semi-Finals, the Falcons set up a good defensive game plan although, they forgot about one important player, Ricky Ortega.
Ortega carried the Red Raiders to a dominant performance all around by rushing for two touchdowns, well north of 100-yards and also throwing for two touchdowns and 182 yards. A 42-yard pass to Mekhi Alexander, a 68-yarder to Dapree Bryant and countless big gains on the ground showed that while Ortega is just a sophomore, he can be very dangerous with the ball in his hand.
“The game plan was just do anything to win,” said Ortega. “They keyed in on our receivers and everything was open up in the middle and we just attacked it until they changed it. I don’t look at it as playing with older guys, I just play football with my teammates and its great.”
“You know, it whatever they’re going to give us,” said coach Matt Ortega. “They obviously came out and were really trying to cover our wideouts because they saw how much we’ve been passing the ball lately. So, they were giving us the run game whether it was Aaron or him [Ricky Ortega]. His number was called, it was there, and we took it. It was just based on what they were going to give us and they were giving us the running game.”
Ortega gained most of his yardage up the middle of the defense during the first three offensive drives. Just to put Ortega’s performance in perspective, Coatesville only started in great field position once. The majority of their drives started deep in their own territory, even one starting from the one-yard line.
Ortega’s ability to run the offense out of bad field position forced Pennsbury to change their defensive scheme and once that happen, Ortega let it fly and Bryant, Alexander and Avery Young did the rest once they got the ball in their hands.”
“My quarterback played great today,” said Dapree Bryant. “the line blocked, and he just hit his holes. All around we just kept it rolling. It wasn’t really the game plan for Ortega, it was to get everyone involved, but everyone is just happy to get a big win.
“Me and him played basketball together, we used to play AAU together and we played little league together so it’s just a great bond,” Bryant continued. “His future is going to be bright, we’re only sophomores.”
The 12-1 Coatesville Red Raiders will face the 12-1 Garnet Valley Jaguars in the District 6A Championship. Based on how Ortega has played all season and his most recent big-time performance, it would be a good idea for the Jaguars not to forget about the gunslinger. He has proved that he can lead his team to a win both on the ground and through the air.
“The best feeling was that we worked so hard in order to get to this point and we got to it,” said Ortega. “Downingtown East tested us early and we came back in the playoffs and beat them pretty good. That was a big accomplishment for us and now going to the district title for the fourth time is really big for us. That’s what we wanted to do the whole year. We accomplished that. We can’t let everything get to our head. The points and how we’re ranked here and ranked there. We just have to focus on getting the win and focus on next week and the team that we’re playing.”