WESTTOWN >> We may have caught a glimpse of the future of Coatesville football Friday night at West Chester Rustin High School.
With Villanova-bound senior quarterback Ricky Ortega sidelined due to a lingering foot injury, freshman southpaw Harrison Susi took the reins of the Red Raiders offense. The freshman was cool and collected as he completed eight of 13 passes and rushed for 65 yards on 12 carries as Coatesville rolled to an impressive 36-7 nonleague win over the Golden Knights.
Another milestone was reached by the Red Raiders’ other Villanova-bound senior, Dapree Bryant. When Bryant hauled in a 6-yard touchdown pass from Susi late in the second quarter, it was his 44th career touchdown reception, breaking a 47-year-old record held by Bobby Thomas of Upper Merion for most touchdown catches in southeastern Pennsylvania history.
“It feels great to get the record because there have been a lot of great receivers,” Bryant said. “And to get it on a night we played this well is also good. The young QB played well. We know now that he can step in and do the job if Ricky goes down. We are playing real good football right now and we are looking forward to the rest of the season.”
Rustin (4-2) actually opened the scoring on the first drive of the game. The Golden Knights took the kickoff at the 34-yard line and went down the field with their running attack. Nick Madonna went the final five yards around the left side for an early 7-0 Rustin lead. Coatesville would score the next 36 points of the game, however, as the Red Raiders (4-1) tied things up right away after Susi drove them down the field with his legs and Bryant went the last yard to make it a 7-7 game.
Rustin came out throwing on its next possession, as on a third and nine play, Golden Knights quarterback John Crispino hit a wide open Caelen Flynn with a perfect pass over the middle. Flynn broke toward the Red Raider end zone but was caught around the 20 yard line by Abdul-Sabur Stewart, who somehow stole the ball cleanly from Flynn and then strolled untouched down the left sideline for an 83-yard touchdown, and suddenly it was a 14-7 Coatesville lead instead of a Golden Knights score.
“That play by Abdul was great,” Susi said. “It really pumped the whole sideline up and got everybody going. It was just a great play.”
From there, it was all Coatesville.
The Red Raiders took a 21-7 lead into halftime and the Knights hurt themselves again in the third quarter. After the Rustin defense forced a three and out, Coatesville lofted a high punt that was fielded and then dropped at the Rustin 19-yard line. Coatesville recovered, and four plays later, Bryant scored his second rushing touchdown of the game, walking it in from a yard out and it was a 28-7 Coatesville advantage.
Rustin only gained 69 yards rushing on the night as the Coatesville defense smothered almost anything the Knights tried to do in the second half. Crispino was tackled in the end zone for a safety by Derek Seagreaves and Jonathan Engler to make it a 30-7 game, and Coatesville ended the scoring late in the game when Dametrius McClain-Jackson cracked it in from three yards out.
“I was very nervous before the game,” Susi said. “But, once I got hit and once I threw a pass it was all gone and it was just football then. The guys helped me a lot and iIwas not nervous after the early part of the game.”
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