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Downingtown West tops Perkiomen Valley on ‘very special night’

DOWNINGTOWN >> A high school football game is, after all, a game, but sometimes it takes on a new meaning when the cruelity of real life intervenes. Usually, when Perkiomen Valley visits Kottmeyer Stadium, the color orange can only be seen on the road fans’ side. But, it was a differnet story Friday night.

Orange was prevalent on sides of the stadium and Downingtown West players complemented their blue, gold and white jerseys with orange to show support for senior Sean Pelkisson’s 9-year-old sister, Jaelynn, who is battling leukemia.

“A very special win on a very special night,” said running back Tyriq Lewis.

Perk Valley donated a signed jersey and a drone buzzed overhead to send footage to her in New York where she is getting treatments.

“I would like to thank Perk Valley and coach (Rob) Heist for everything they’ve done,” said West coach Mike Milano. “They’ve been a class act.” 

In on the field matters, Lewis and Will Howard notched a pair of touchdowns each as the Whippets erased an early deficit to post a 33-17 victory in the nonleague contest.

West stayed perfect on the season at 4-0 sweeping their challenging non Ches-Mont portion of the schedule by a combined margin of 157-55.

“It’s been a 4-week grind, we’ve had a couple of league champions in there,” said Milano. “But, I’m proud of our kids. Now, we’ll get ready for Oxford, who has been scoring a lot of points.”

The start provided a little hiccup for the Whippets. Lewis fumbled on the third play of the game and Gavin Euker recovered on the PV 47. The Vikings drove to the West three, before stalling. Brayden Basile booted home a 20-yard field goal for the early 3-0 lead.

However, it didn’t last long. Ont it next possession, West drove 74 yards, highlighted by a 48-yard pass from Howard to Pelkisson. Two plays later, Lewis scooted in from the three. The extra point was missed, and the Whippets held a 6-3 lead. 

That score held into the second quarter when Lewis recorded his second three-yard score. He set it up by busting through for a 25-yard jaunt. 

The Whippets had a couple of chances to add to the lead as the half wound down, but penalities and missed connections thwarted those efforts and the half ended, 13-3.

“We were our worst enemy,” said Milano.

“It happens,” said Howard. “I just missed a couple of passes and we had a couple of unlucky bounces.”

The second half began with both teams going on clock-eating marches, the key difference was the Whippets’ ended in points. Perk Valley went from its 20 to the West 33 before turing the ball over on downs.

The Whippets then went 67 yards in 10 plays, cashing in as Howard scored from six-yards out on a keeper.

But, the Vikings came right back. They were set up by a 41-yard pass from sophmore quarterback Ethan Kohler to Logan Holloway. Kohler finished off the drive two plays later, hitting Jacob Sturm on a screen pass for a an 8-yard score and cut the deficit to 20-10 toward the end of the third.

“We were hoping for a three-and-out to keep the momentum, but give them credit,” said Milano. “They are a quality opponent, they have a big veteran offensive line, good skill kids, and their quarterback is going to be a star.”

Lewis ripped off another big run to set up the Whippets. He set sail on a 63-yard run down to the PV 5. After being held to five yards in the first half, Lewis finished the night with 118 yards on nine carries.

“They were blitzing a lot, something we knew they would do,” said Lewis. “We blocked it up in the second half and my line gave me a lot of room.”

Howard added his scored TD for a 27-10 advantage.

PV added another TD as Kohler hit sturm from 23 yards. The young Kohler showed flashes of brillance as he went 23-32for 298 yards and two interceptions.

Howard finished the scoring late in the fourth with a 46-yard scoring strike to Max Hale.

“It feels great,” Howard said on being 4-0. “It was a special win and we’re excited to start playing Ches-Mont teams.” 

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