West Chester >> Great Valley’s football offense got rolling Friday evening for a 34-16 win at West Chester East.
For the Patriots (2-0), quarterback Braeden Melia threw three touchdown passes, and the first TD strike was a 67-yard play-action pass to Gavin Maslowski just three minutes into the game that gave Great Valley the lead for good.
“If we’re able to run the ball and do play-action, we’re going to get receivers open because we have athletic guys on the outside,” said Great Valley head coach Jeff Martin. “On that [67-yard TD pass], Braeden made a good throw, Gavin made an awesome catch, and we had the protection we needed up front. Our offensive line did a great job, they all chipped in tonight – Jose Caballero, Ryan Shim, Jack Clearfield, Nick Korab, Gavin Greco – and it’s their work up front that lets us get our running game going.”
Behind Great Valley’s offensive line, running backs Jack Coffey and Anthony Pellicciotta were able to pick up some solid runs throughout the contest. By halftime, the visitors had a 21-3 lead.
Another scoring threat for Great Valley was kicker Seth Turner, who booted field goals of 51 yards and 40 yards in the fourth quarter.
Great Valley hit a bump in the road on its opening possession, as a unsuccessful punt snap gave the hosts the ball at the Patriots’ 15 yard line. A few plays later, Nik Nowak kicked a 34-yard field goal to give East a 3-0 lead.
The Patriots then came back with the 67-yard TD pass, then following a three-and-out by East, Great Valley drove downfield, and scored on a 21-yard touchdown pass from Melia to Pellicciotta down the left sideline for a 14-3 Patriot lead.
“Braeden did an excellent job throwing the ball and his receivers did a great job getting open,” said Martin “He also ran for some gains that were crucial, and showed a lot of maturity out there.”
Following another three-and-out by East, the Patriots got the ball at the Vikings’ 35 yard line, and scored seven plays later. The touchdown was tallied on a two-yard run by Coffey, who ran into the end zone standing up. Great Valley had a 21-3 lead, which they maintained until halftime.
Early in the third period, East, behind quarterback Nate DiRosa, taking his first varsity snaps Friday, moved deep into Great Valley territory. But the Patriots’ Raheem Orr caused a fumble at the GV 10, recovered the ball and brought it out to near midfield.
East, facing a third-and-23 at its own 22 yard line, gave the ball to Mitch Ragni, who zoomed up the middle for a 78-yard touchdown with 6:42 left in the third quarter to cut the visitors’ lead to 21-9.
Following a three-and-out by Great Valley, East took the ball on its own 47 yard line, but a fumble on the following play was recovered by the Patriots. The Patriots then drove downfield, with some resourceful scrambling by Melia, and had the ball at the Vikings’ 9 yard line by the end of the third quarter.
On the second play of the fourth quarter, Pellicciotta scored on an 8-yard pass from Melia to give the visitors a 28-9 lead.
Just three plays later, Ragni broke free for a 76-yard jaunt up the middle then down the left sideline to cut the Patriots’ lead to 28-16.
“Our offensive line did a nice job in the second half opening up some lanes for Mitch,” said East head coach Scott Stephen. “Mitch weighs 220 pounds, but when he got in the open field he showed his overall acceleration and top-end speed.”
On the ensuing kickoff, Great Valley’s Colin Kiselak returned the ball 57 yards to the East 33 yard line. While the Patriots did not get a first down, Seth Turner came out and booted a 51-yard field goal to give the visitors a 31-16 lead with 8:02 left.
Martin said, “Our special teams really played a big role in what we did tonight, not only on Seth’s two [long] field goals, but I think all but one of his kickoffs were in the end zone, and he punted the ball really well, which made us able to flip the field. And in the return game, Colin had that big [57-yard] kickoff return to take away East’s momentum. He did the same thing last week on a punt return.”
With just 37 seconds left, Turner booted his second field goal of the fourth quarter, this time from 40 yards, to give the visitors a 34-16 lead.
Stephen said, “We need to clean up our turnovers and mistakes that we made on offense and defense. When you make mistakes, a great team like Great Valley is going to make you pay. We showed grit and fight. We’re a relatively young team, and we’re learning how to practice and how to win. There’s no better experience than game experience, where you learn to deal with both adversity and success.”
Great Valley 34, West Chester East 16
Great Valley 14 7 0 13 – 34
West Chester East 3 0 6 7 – 16
First quarter scoring:
WCE – Nowak, 34, FG
GV – Maslowski, 67, pass from Melia (Turner kick)
GV – Pellicciotta, 21, pass from Melia (Turner kick)
Second quarter scoring:
GV – Coffey, 2, run (Turner kick)
Third quarter scoring:
WCE – Ragni, 78, run (kick blocked)
Fourth quarter scoring:
GV – Pellicciotta, 8, pass from Melia (Turner kick)
WCE – Ragni, 76, run (Nowak kick)
GV – Turner, 51, FG
GV – Turner, 40, FG
First downs 13 10
Rushes-yards 37-92 23-247
Passing yards 238 44
Total yards 330 291
Comp-Att-Int 15-25-0 8-23-1
Fumbles-lost 0-0 3-2
Penalties-yards 8-50 3-30
Punts-avg. 4-32.0 4-29.5
Rushing: GV – Coffey 18-52, 1 TD; Pellicciotta 10-minus 4, Kiselak 1-4, Melia 7-37, Crouse 1-3, Totals 37-92. WCE – Ragni 14-213, 2 TDs; Renzi 3-minus 2, DeRosa 5-24, Miller 1-12, Totals 23-247.
Passing: GV – Melia 13-22-0, 218 yards, 3 TDs; Kisalek 2-3-0, 20 yards. WCE – Renzi 3-12-1, 1 yard; DeRosa 5-11-0, 43 yards.
Receiving: GV – Maslowski 3-98, 1 TD; Pellicciotta 5-36, 2 TDs, Stedman 1-13, Deegan 1-5, Newell 1-17, Callahan 3-43, Crouse 1-26, Totals 15-238. WCE – Wileczek 6-23, Ragni 1-15, O’Connell 1-6, Totals 8-44.
Interceptions – GV – Pellicciotta.
Sacks – GV – Orr 3, Short, Coffey.
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