By PETER DiGIOVANNI
DOWNINGTOWN -- Downingtown East is widely considered as one of the top two or three teams in District 1 football. Friday night at Kottmeyer Stadium, the Cougars showed plenty of reasons why people have that notion as they dismantled a very young, but game Bishop Shanahan, 37-0, for their seventh win of the season against zero losses in a Ches-Mont League National Division game.
Downingtown East (3-0 Ches-Mont, 7-0) limited the Eagles to just 140 yards of total offense -- just 12 on the ground -- and got the usual big games from the electryfying Jay Harris, who along with running back Ryley Angeline, receiver Dayne Foley and quarterback Kyle Lauletta led the offense to another huge night. The Cougars moved to 9-0 all-time against Shanahan and have outscored them 312-72.
Lauletta threw four touchdown passes -- the first two of the night to Foley, who had three in total, but it took Harris to get the crowd in a frenzy. With East already leading 12-0 in the first, Harris took a screen pass from Lauletta, appeared to be stopped, changed direction, broke three tackles and darted down the field for a 70-yard touchdown and a 18-0 lead.
“It was a screen pass in the flat and I had a tunnel and I actually went to the wrong hole and then someone had me, but I broke free,” Harris said. “Then, I just crossed the field and my blockers did a great job for me. They led me down the field and did a great job.”
“Not only is Jay a great weapon, he is a great teammate,” Downingtown East head coach Mike Matta said. “He, Kyle and all the kids really look out for each other and they are good teammates. Tonight, you saw all the guys running down the field blocking for him on his long run.”
That wasn’t even the first surprise of the game, though, after backing Shanahan up on its first possession and a short punt, the Cougars had the ball on the Eagles’ 31. On their first play, Lauletta pitched the ball back to Eddie Kozlowski, who threw a perfect 31-yard scoring pass to Foley to strike quickly and put the young Eagles back on their heels. Three minutes later, Foley caught a two-yard pass from Lauletta to give the Cougars a 12-0 lead.
Downingtown East’s defense asserted itself right from the outset as Josh Ganzelli, Sage Stevenson-Panchin and Eli Griffin led the way. Shanahan (2-4, 0-3) quarterback Justin Cook was sacked five times and with them not being able to run the football, it was a complete domination by the Cougars defense. Stevenson-Panchin, in particular, was in the Shanahan backfield all night.
“Josh Ganzelli had his best game and we got some guys back that were injured,” Matta said. “And our secondary seems to be coming around. The defense played really well tonight. Sage (Stevenson-Panchin) had a couple of sacks for us.”
The second half was played mostly under the mercy rule after Lauletta scored on a nine-yard keeper to start the third period to make the score, 37-0. Matta cleared his bench and let the reserves see some action. Some teams might lose their focus against a team they are supposed to beat and with a crosstown rival looming on the horizon, but according to Harris, not this team, who except for some bad penalties, played mostly error-free football.
“I tell the guys all the time that the team we are playing this week is the best team we will play all year. We respect everybody we play,” he said.
Junior running back Ryley Angeline, who scored a touchdown and ran for 127 yards also said Harris keeps all the Cougars grounded and said it will be a tough week of practice as they get ready for Downingtown West in the battle of Downingtown next week.
“Jay tells us all the time that who we play is the best team we will play all year,” Angeline said. “And we are looking forward to the West game and we will practice very hard this week because we know West is a real good football team.”
For the Eagles, they will take this as a learning experience and use it for next season.
“These kids come and practice hard every week, every day,” Shanahan head coach Paul Meyers said. “We gave up some big plays but besides that we played pretty well. This team keeps fighting and give me a team that keeps fighting and I will go to war with them every time.
Downingtown East 37 Bishop Shanahan 0
Bishop Shanahan 0 0 0 0 - 0
Downingtown East 18 12 7 0 - 37
D-Foley 37 pass from Kozlowski (run failed)
D-Foley 2 pass from Lauletta (run failed)
D-Harris 70 pass from Lauletta (run failed)
D-Foley 6 pass from Laultta (run failed)
D-Angeline 8 run (run failed)
D-Lauletta 9 run (Rumer kick)
First downs 10 14
Yards rushing 12 166
Yards passing 128 155
Total yards 140 321
Passing 16-24-0 8-15-1
Fumbles-lost 2-2 0-0
Punts.avg 6-23.5 3-27.0
Penalties-yds 7-53 11-85
Rushing: Shan: Angelini 6-22; Ruggieri 3-6; Lindstrom 1-8; Johns 2-8; Harper 9(-15); Cook 9- (-18). Down: Angeline 22-127, TD; Lauletta 5-33, TD; Conner 1-3; Bornstad 1-3; Buban 1-0.
Passing: Shan: Cook 14-20-0 92 yards; Lindstrom 2-4-0 36 yards. Down: Lauletta 7-14-1 118 yards, 4TD’s; Kozlowski 1-1-0 31 yards, 1TD.
Receiving: Shan: Angelini 5-30; Oakes 5-35; Zebrowski 3-15; Roselli 1-21; Johns 1-15; Smith 2-12. Down: Foley 4-45, 3TD’s; Reichwein 2-30; Harris 2-82, 1TD.
Sacks: Shan: Judd. Down: Ganzelli, Stevenson-Panchin 2; Valliencourt 2.
Interceptions: Shan: Zebrowski. Down: None.