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Defense helps Kennett triumphs against Downingtown West

Kennett Square >> It wasn’t exactly David vs. Goliath or Milan High vs. Central High, but another smaller underdog pulled off a surprise Friday at Kennett Satdium. The Kennett defense stood tall, including a huge 4th-and-1 stop, and held Downingtown West to 176 total yards of offense to pull off an impressive 14-3 Ches-Mont League crossover victory.

“Every win I’ve had here is special, but this one is historic,” said Kennett coach Lance Frazier. “For the community and the players this was huge. I have huge respect for coach Milano and his staff. They’re a real good football team. The defense did what they’ve done all season. We have a lot of guys going both ways and they played their hearts out tonight.”

The Whippets fell to 3-3, and with games with Coatesville and Downingtown East on the docket, their playoff chances took a major hit. West was sloppy, turning the ball over twice and had a punt that hit off a player and was recovered by Kennett.

Coach Mike Milano had a very succinct answer when asked how frustrating the loss was.

“Terribly,” he said.

West got off to a promising start. John Mulville broke off left tackle and romped 34 yards to the Kennett 22. A 10-yard pass from Evan Wickersham to sophomore tight end Ryan Campbell brought the ball to the 12. But, the next three plays netted just three yards and the Whippets settled for a 25-yard field goal from Colton Cacciavillano for a 3-0 lead midway through the quarter.

They ended the first going on another march, but that got short circuited on the second play of the second. A bad snap went over the head of Wickersham and was recovered by Kennett on the West 44.

Two possessions later, Kennett started a nearly five minutes drive that went from its 45 until it stalled at the West 27, but a 44-yard field goal attempt fell short and the Whippets took the 3-0 lead into the halftime break.

West quickly went three-and-out with the first possession of the second half and gave the ball back to Kennett. The Blue Demons did not have much success throwing the ball in the half, so they went the over land route in the half. They ran the ball and controlled the clock, going on an eight-play, 51-yard drive to take the lead. Justin Sparacino and Kalen Frazier combined for all the yards on the march. Sparacino, who took over for the injured David Lillis, did the scoring honors, lunging past the goal line for a 9-yard score and a 7-3 advantage.

“Jullian has been splitting time with David, they’re 1A and 1B type guys,” said Lance Frazier. “Jullian is a hard-nosed guy. Smash mouth football is what we’ve been doing and Jules fits that perfectly.”

A huge turning point happened on the ensuing West possession. The Whippets faced a 4th-and-1 at their 44. Mulville was met up the middle and stopped for a yard loss.

“Two plays in a row,” said Milano. “They did a great job holding us and we didn’t help our cause.”

Kennett couldn’t take advantage and punted, the ball hit off a West player and jumped on by the Blue Demons. This time, they did capitalized, going on a another long drive with Frazier and Sparacino providing for all the yardage. Frazier burrowed in from the 2 and they added to the lead.

West started their next drive deep in its end. Two long passes to Will Mahmud found the Whippets on the move, but a deflected pass nestled into the arms of Kalen Frazier and the Blue Demons killed off the game.

“It was luck,” a smiling Frazier said of the pick. “It just bobble up to me and found my hands.”

“We tackled. We were physical,” he said of the defensive effort. “It was just a beautiful effort by everybody all around.”

Frazier finished the night with 93 yards on 24 carries and later said that a win against a team from Downingtown was a long time coming.

“This is the best win,” said Frazier. “Downingtown West, they used to beat us in little league. I played for the Brandywine Warriors and these guys played for Kennett. We just never beat Downingtown, so it feels great to get a win against them.”

Kennett improved to 5-1 and now faces an even bigger game next week against crosstown rival Unionville.

“Confidence is high, but Unionville is a well-coached team. Pat Clark does a great job. It should decide a little bit in our conference,” said Lance Frazier.

Kennett 14, Downingtown West 3
Downingtown West 3 0 0 0 — 3
Kennett 0 0 7 7 — 14
First Quarter
Downingtown West — Cacciavillano 25 FG
Third Quarter
Kennett — Sparacino 9 TD (Barker kick)
Fourth Quarter
Kennett — Frazier 2 run (Barker kick)
team statistics
First downs 6 13
Rushes-yards 25-64 49-194
Passing 6-10-1 2-7-1
Passing yards 112 9
Total yards 176 203
Punts 1-34.0 5-32.6
Fumbles-lost 4-2 1-0
Penalties-yards 3-25 7-55
Individual statistics
Rushing — Downingtown West: Mulville 8-45; Waters 5-17; Mahmud 4-11; Kameryn 1-3; Wickersham 7-(-12). Kennett: Saparacino 25-101 TD; Frazier 24-93 TD.
Passing — Downingtown West: Wickersham 6-10-1 112 yards. Kennett: Frazier 2-7-1 9 yards.
Receiving — Downingtown West: Mahmud 3-70; Ford 1-31; Campbell 1-10; Mulville 1-1. Kennett: Sparacino 1-5; Hollick 1-4.
Interceptions — Downingtown West: Mahmud. Kennett: Frazier.
Sacks — Kennett: Pardo.

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