Friday, September 14, 2012
Downingtown East dumps Pennsbury
By NATE HECKENBERGER
DOWNINGTOWN -- In a matchup of almost completely contrasting offensive styles, the team that was able to assert its will and maintain it would prevail.
At Kottmeyer Stadium on Friday night, two potential Class AAAA District 1 playoff teams -- Downingtown East and Pennsbury -- met. The Cougars passed the ball all night and couldn’t get the next play off fast enough, while the Falcons tried to methodically run their wing-T offense and pound on the East defense.
In the end, East had too much skill and played better defense and outran the Falcons, 42-28, in a very competitive nonleague contest.
Kyle Lauletta threw for 290 yards and four scores, while Chris Beals (10 receptions, 153 yards) and Jay Harris (7 for 71) continued their hot starts with two touchdowns apiece for the Cougars (3-0). Next up is the first road game for East against rival Coatesville, who upended the Cougars in the pouring rain last September.
“We were 3-0 last year, and I reminded them of that,” East coach Mike Matta said. “They don’t really get to enjoy this victory. I usually give them til Sunday, but I’m giving them until 9:30 (Saturday morning) to enjoy it. It’s 24-7 Coatesville for the coaches right now.”
It’s typically 24-7 running the ball for Pennsbury (1-2), who entered the game without a completed pass in five attempts the prior two games. East, on the other hand, jumped on the Falcons right away through the air, with Lauletta completing his first four passes on the initial drive. His fifth completion went to Harris for a four-yard TD less than three minutes in.
Pennsbury responded, using eight runs and a 30-yard play-action pass to Shawn Pepper to generated a 79-yard touchdown drive, tying it, 7-7. The Falcons then picked off Lauletta for the first time this season the next drive and forced a three-and-out on the following, but both offensive possessions ended with missed 33-yard field goals. University of Massachusetts commit Daquan Mack played primarily defensive end after missing the first two games due to injury.
“(Pennsbury) had one really good drive and we made some adjustments,” Matta said. “They don’t throw the ball much, but they set up those drives with big pass plays. I was pretty happy with the way our defense played, though.”
With the Falcons unable to capitalize, East made them pay. It took Lauletta 10 plays on the next drive to navigate his squad 80 yards, the final one coming on a Josh Zahniser plunge.
Pepper took the ensuing kickoff back 91 yards to tie it back up at 14, but Lauletta stepped right back on the gas pedal, engineering a 70-yard drive, capping it himself with a 12-yard TD run.
“They have a very good football team,” Pennsbury coach Galen Snyder said. “I thought we did some good things defensively, but the big plays hurt us. And their QB played well.”
With a seven-point lead, East couldn’t extend it in the third, but the Lauletta and his newest favorite target, Beals, struck first in the fourth. One play after Lauletta sprang a 42-yard run, he hit Beals on a pop pass from six yards out to push the score to 28-14.
But once again, East kicked it to Pepper, much to Matta’s dismay as the ball was traveling in the air, and Pepper housed it from 87 yards out.
A roughing the punter penalty on the next drive gave East second life, and that’s all it would need to finish the Falcons off. Four plays after the penalty, Lauletta hit Beals on a shovel pass and the senior rumbled 28 yards for his second score.
Avoiding another possible return by Pepper, East pooched the next kickoff, which Pennsbury could not handle and the Cougars recovered. Lauletta put the final nail in the coffin with a seven-yard TD pass to Harris.
Harris has 14 receptions for 209 yards and five scores on the season, but that’s almost to be expected after committing to play for Michigan State next fall. Beals, on the contrary, had just four receptions as a junior and now leads the team with 22 for 368 yards and five TDs.
“Me and Kyle have always been good friends,” Beals said. “We’ve been playing together since we were little kids. There’s always been a great connection between us and it just shows out there.”
Lauletta led the team with 78 yards rushing. He also leads the Cougars on the season with 154. And while the top three running backs for East have 200 yards on 58 carries (3.4 yards per carry), Matta shook off concern of inconsistency running the ball.
“We have two injured backs,” Matta said. “When they get healthy I think we’ll be fine. We’re not going to force the ball. They were giving us the pass, so we were gonna take it.”
With the Red Raiders on deck, East is looking to avenge the 20-14 loss from last year and go 4-0 for the first time since 2004.
“We’re really looking forward to that game,” Beals said. “It’s a rivalry and we want to win that one.”
Downingtown East 42, Pennsbury 28
Pennsbury 7 7 0 14 - 28
Downingtown East 7 14 0 21 - 21
DE- Harris 4 pass from Lauletta (White kick)
PB- Snorweah 6 run (Kniaziewizc kick)
DE- Zahniser 1 run (White kick)
PB- Pepper 91 kick return (Kniaziewizc kick)
DE- Lauletta 12 run (White kick)
DE- Beals 6 pass from Lauletta (White kick)
PB- Pepper 87 kick return (Kniaziewizc kick)
DE- Beals 28 pass from Lauletta (White kick)
DE- Harris 7 pass from Lauletta (White kick)
PB- Steward 48 run (Kniaziewizc kick)
First downs 12 20
Yards rushing 194 119
Yards passing 120 290
Total yards 314 409
Passing 3-11-1 21-33-1
Fumbles-Lost 4-2 0-0
Penalties 12-89.5 6-62
Punts-Avg. 1-42 4-30.3
RUSHING - PB: Steward 13-90, TD; Pepper 12-69; Clark 6-14; Mack 2-14; Snorweah 5-7, TD. DE: Lauletta 15-78, TD; Angeline 10-29; Zahniser 4-8, TD; Beals 2-3; Bovard 1-3; Harris 1-(-2).
PASSING - PB: Clark 3-11, 120 yds, INT. DE: Lauletta 21-33, 290 yds, 4 TDs, INT.
RECEIVING - PB: Pepper 2-90; Bullaro 1-30. DE: Beals 10-153, 2 TDs; Harris 7-71, 2 TDs; Foley 3-53; Bovard 1-13.
SACKS: PB: Kovin. DE: Munnelly; Griffin .5; Lucas-Murphy .5
INTERCEPTIONS: PB: Campbell. DE: Scavicchio.