Downingtown West stifles West Chester East, thwarts Vikings’ playoff hopes

DOWNINGTOWN >> For the second straight week, the Downingtown West defense came out for the second half and threw a blanket over its opponent, snuffing out any thought of an offensive assault to get them back into the game.

On a crisp, chilly fall Friday evening, the Whippets held West Chester East to one touchdown after the first quarter, while junior John Barry notched a pair of touchdowns to power West to a 35-7 victory.

The loss stifled the Vikings’ hopes of making the District 1 Class 5A playoffs as they ended their abbreviated regular season at 2-2.

Downingtown West (2-1) improved to 14-3 against East since the Downingtown schools split into two.

West took over after a quick three-and-out followed by a short punt put the ball at the West 46. It took them seven plays to get into position to open the scoring, which they did as Will Mahmud went off right tackle and bulled his way in from the seven.

The Vikings got a toehold into the contest on the next drive, marching 76 yards on 12 plays, aided by a key pass interference penalty on a 3rd-and-5. Mitch Ragni burrowed in from the 4-yard line to tie the score at 7-7.

The defenses then flexed their muscles as three of the next four possessions resulted in the ball being turned over.

First, the East defense made a fourth down stop on its 27-yard line, breaking in to throw Barry for a three-yard loss. Then, one play after punting the ball to West, Mason Griffin intercepted an Evan Wickersham pass and returned it to the East 17. The Vikings mounted a drive, but it got derailed as Julian Williams picked off a Ryan Duell pass.

The Whippets turned that into points as Barry broke through the middle and galloped 34 yards for the first of his two scores.

“It feels great,” Barry said of his evening. “It was a team victory. The defense gave us momentum and we made plays when we needed them.”

Late in the half, West added to its lead, On a fourth-and-11 on the Vikings 24, Barry caught a pass from Wickersham, bounced off a tackle and squeezed his way into the end zone for a 21-7 lead at the break.

“I was supposed to run a a pattern into the flat, but it was covered so I turned it up and caught the ball just as Evan (Wickersham) was being hit,” said Barry. “I spun back, broke a tackle and scored.”

West coach Milano expressed his happiness for Barry.

“Yeah, how about that,” said Milano. “The kid is talented, he may not be big, but he catches the ball and he has speed and he is a football player.”

The Whippets dominated the time of posession in the second half and padded the lead on a Julian Williams 36-yard touchdown pass and a 3-yard run from Ryan Waters.

The Vikings did get on the board again in the fourth as Rangi galloped 50 yards on the Whippets’ second-team defense.

“We’re playing pretty good defense,” said Milano. “I’m proud of my team. They’re getting better every week and they have been nothing but positive.”

West will play one more game, as the delayed Battle of the Brandywine with Downingtown East will be played next Friday.

“It’s a big game for the community,” said Milano. “It was the first game we lost because of COVID. Hopefully, we’ll stay helathy and get after it.”

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