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Wet weather expected to greet playoff teams

The second round of the District 1 playoffs are here with the area having five teams alive for a coveted district championship.

We have two double-local games in the second round, which assures Chester County of having two teams who will advance to next week’s semifinal round.

Downingtown East and Downingtown West will square off in the 6A bracket, while West Chester Rustin will host Kennett in 5A. Great Valley will travel to top-seeded Upper Dublin in other 5A action, while Malvern Prep will escape the weather by moving up its regular-season finale against Springtide Chestnut Hill, Thursday night. Here is a look at upcoming all the weekend action.

Class 6A
Downingtown East (8-3) at Downingtown West (9-1), 7 p.m.
These two rivals met two weeks ago with West prevailing 31-28 in a wild affair that saw both teams take leads during the game. The fourth-seeded Whippets easily triumphed over Conestoga, 35-13, in first-round play.

They got a big game from junior quarterback Quinn Henicle, who completed 10 of 19 passes for 127 yards. For the season, Henicle has completed 74 of 109 with 16 touchdowns.

John Mulville rushed for 77 yards and three scores. The Whippets will have to move the ball on the ground against the Cougars to give Henicle time to throw. West rushed for 162 yards against the Pioneers.

Downingtown East rallied from a 15-0 hole to score the next 21 points in a stunning 31-15 upset of Coatesville. The 12th-seeded Cougars called on senior running back Bo Horvath for 37 carries. Horvath responded with 255 yards and three touchdowns, breaking numerous tackles and running through holes to bedevil a good Coatesville run defense.

It was nothing fancy for the Cougars offense, just a pefectly executed power running game. Expect more of the same against West.

The Downingtown East defense also played well as Mike Leo picked off a Harrison Susi pass in the fourth quarter. The Cougars shut down the Coatesville running game, except for a 56-yard run by Amir Haskett.

The Cougars got decent pressure on Susi and will have to get that same kind of pressure on Henicle to win. The Whippets boast the area’s leading receiver in Jake Kucera, who has hauled in 45 passes on the season.
Pick: Downingtown East 28, Downingtown West 24

Class 5A

Kennett (8-3) at West Chester Rustin (9-1), 7 p.m.
These teams met in Week Four with Kennett taking a 24-14 win on its home field. The loss was the only one of the season for the Golden Knights. They tuned up for this game with a fairly easy 41-14 win over Radnor in the first round.

The third-seeded Golden Knights used their wing-T offense to rush for 394 yards. Rustin can send three good running backs at teams with Daimon Jacobs, Chase Hatton and Antonio Santangleo. Jacobs and Hatton both went over the 100-yard mark against Radnor.

Kennett gutted out a tough 7-3 win over Methacton despite playing without stellar running back Julian Sparacino, who was out with a concussion. Sparacino, who will be back for this game, has 1,486 yards rushing with 15 touchdowns on the season and must have a big game for the Blue Demons to prevail. Sophomore Ian Guyer rushed for 57 yards on 17 carries against Methacton.

Kennett has won five in a row since losing to Interboro with the the defense leading the way. The Kennett defense has only allowed 17 points in the last four games, outscoring opponents, 115-21 in its last three games.
Pick: Kennett 21, WC Rustin 17

Class 5A

Great Valley (8-3) at Upper Dublin (11-0), 7 p.m.
Eighth-seeded Great Valley defeated Upper Moreland, 24-21 in the first round and now have to travel to play one of the top teams in the state regardless of classification in No. 1 Upper Dublin, which defeated 6A power North Penn earlier this season. Great Valley got a 155-yard passing game from quarterback Braden Melia in the win over Upper Moreland, but this will be tougher against a Cardinals defense that gives up just 10 points per game.

Upper Dublin features quarterback Colin O’Sullivan, a Boston College University recruit. O’Sullivan is a three-year starter and has over 1,700 yards passing this season. Wide receiver Starling Reaves is one of the best in the district. He had two touchdown receptions in the 35-0 win over Academy Park in the first round. The Cardinals offense is averaging 39 points per game and can move the ball on the ground or through the air.
Pick: Upper Dublin 35, Great Valley 14

Regular Season
Springside Chestnut Hill (4-5) at Malvern Prep (7-2), 6 p.m.
Malvern Prep has been having trouble scoring points this season but the Friars’ defense has been stout, allowing just over six points per game. Bobby Mears and Jake Bauer lead the ravenous Malvern defense and should be enough to get a win over Springtide Chestnut Hill. Running back Yaadhir Nash has gone over the 100-yard rushing mark the last two games.
Pick: Malvern Prep 21, Springside Chestnut Hill 7

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