[tps_title]Dowingtown East Cougars [/tps_title]
Cougars happy to fly under the radar to another strong season
UWCHLAN >> The Downingtown East football program has been one of the most respected in District 1 and the entire state since its inception, and the 2018 season was no different, as the Cougars posted a 9-3 mark and advanced to the quarterfinals of the District 1 Class 6A playoffs before bowing out to Coatesville.
This 2019 Downingtown East team may be flying slightly under the radar with more talked about neighbors at Downingtown West and Coatesville, but Cougar head coach Mike Matta is ready for another typical winning Downingtown East season.
“We should be okay and we do not worry about what teams are being talked about,” Matta said. “I think the strength of the team will be our linebacking corps and our defensive secondary. We have a three-year starter in James Basilli and a two-year starter in Justin Townsend back there, so we should be good there.
“At linebacker, Spencer Uggla, Stanley Bryant and Connor Noble can all do the job,” Matta said. “And Noble is one of the best tight ends in the state. Uggla and Bryant will also both see time at halfback and we have a lot of good backs this season. We will use Noble in a lot of different ways in the passing game and spread him out at times.
“Our offensive line has three guys back and once they jell I think they have a chance to be like our offensive line in 2017 when we had three 1,000-yard rushers,” Matta said. “They just have to get used to playing together and get some game experience.”
With quarterback being an open position for this season’s Cougars, Matta is turning to 6-foot-4 senior Drew Person after Luke Davis graduated after last season.
“Drew has a real big arm,” Matta said. “He has real good size and the kids like him. He is going to lead this team. He throws the deep ball real well too. We are very happy with him.”
Person, for his part says he is ready to lead a program that has featured stellar quarterbacks like Pat Devlin and Kyle Lauletta, both of whom have reached the NFL. He knows the position brings a lot of pressure.
“I feel like I am ready to lead this team,” Person said. “We have a real good group of guys and the confidence is real high. I know I am ready to compete.”
The Downingtown East schedule begins with three non-league games as the Cougars take on an Archbishop Ryan squad that was 8-3 last season, a Perkiomen Valley squad that has become a regular participant in the district playoffs and a Roman Catholic team that has a new head coach and coaching staff. The Cougars will also have a crossover game with Ches-Mont American Division foe Great Valley.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Spencer Uggla >> Running Back
Besides being a top flight linebacker, Uggla is a battering ram as a running back and as a blocker.
James Basilli >> Defensive Back
A three-year starter, Basilli is one of the best cover men in the Ches-Mont League.
By Peter DiGiovanni; email@example.com