DOWNINGTOWN >> After a season opening loss to highly regarded La Salle last week, Downingtown East kicked off Friday night knowing it needed to make things right against Avon Grove.
Well, two hours later, the Cougars had plenty off reasons to feel good. The Cougars piled up 507 yards of total offense and the defense shut down the Red Devils as the host Cougars rolled to a convincing 49-0 triumph at Kottmeyer Stadium.
Downingtown East (1-1) jumped out to a 35-0 halftime advantage before Cougar head coach Mike Matta cleared his bench for the entire second half.
And Downingtown East did it all without star running back Stanley Bryant, who was held out due to injury.
Downingtown East put three runners at the 100-yard rushing mark. Junior Josh Asante scored three rushing touchdowns and went for 135 yards, while Bo Horvath gained 125, and Brayden McClain gained 100 yards on the ground, as the Cougars piled up 384 rushing yards.
“Without Stanley I had to get a lot of carries,” Asante said. “And I like that. The more carries I get the happier I am. Our offensive line did a great job as usual and I just picked my spots and next week we get Stan back.”
Asante busted in from nine yards out early in the first quarter for an early 7-0 Downingtown East lead. But, the Cougars, behind sophomore quarterback Jay Jenkins showed they can throw the ball effectively, as well. Jenkins completed seven of his eight passes for 123 yards and two touchdowns, both to Mike Giardino. The first Jenkins strike made it a 14-0 game when Giardino broke wide open for a 40-yard touchdown catch. The sophomore signal-caller said he is establishing a connection with the wide receiver.
“I mean, me and Mike are friends and he has real good hands and he was open tonight,” Jenkins said. “And we ran the ball well. Everybody that gets the ball on this team is going to run hard and that is what happened tonight.”
Downingtown East put the game away with a 21-point second quarter, as Asante rushed for two more touchdowns and Jenkins threw a 26-yard strike to Giardino right before the end of the first half, making it 35-0 and putting the game into the mercy rule for the entire second half.
“Josh Asante is one heck of a ball player,” Downingtown East head coach Mike Matta said. “And Mike Giardino is just a tough kid who has real good hands and in the second half I was happy with the way the young guys played.”
The second half saw the Downingtown East reserves outscore Avon Grove (0-2) 14-0, with Horvath and McClain doing most of the damage as Matta kept the ball on the ground the entire second half. Avon Grove could not muster any running game as the Red Devils were held to minus-2 rushing yards for the game.
“I was real happy with the way the offense and defense played tonight,” Matta said. “And in the second half you saw Bo Horvath do his thing. He is very hard to bring down. We did some good things tonight.”
Downingtown East heads to Coatesville next Friday to play the Red Raiders, while Avon Grove heads back to Kottmeyer Stadium to face Downingtown West.