By ROB SENIOR
Journal Register News Service
WEST GROVE — The idea of a ‘trap’ game might be a cliché, but it can be a real threat — a top team with rivalry games two weeks apart gets tripped up by a less-regarded, but feisty upstart squad on the odd week.
Downingtown West laid any fears of such a letdown quickly to rest Friday night. The Whippets put up a safety on Avon Grove’s first possession and followed it with quick three scores, jumping out to a 23-0 lead and never looking back in a 50-13 victory. Fresh off a 6-0 win over W.C. Henderson, the Whippets dominated the Red Devils before heading into next week’s showdown with undefeated Downingtown East.
The game was called with seconds remaining in the third quarter due to power issues, but West had long since proven its strength in what coach Mike Milano agreed was the most balanced performance of their 6-1 season.
“We’ve had issues offensively, partly because we haven’t had everyone healthy,” Milano admitted. “But now we’re getting healthy just in time.”
Mitch Meleski led the attack with 78 yards and two rushing touchdowns, all coming in the first quarter. Meleski would add a third touchdown on a pass from Nick Pagel just before halftime. Pagel added a second touchdown pass to Justin Schmitt, plus a 35-yard tally of his own on the ground. Teddy Varano’s 75-yard kickoff return closed out the scoring just before the premature stoppage of play.
The Red Devils (1-6) showed continued improvement in their passing attack, with Tanner Peck throwing for 112 yards and a TD against one of District 1’s stoutest defenses. Cody Davis added an electrifying 82-yard TD run in the second half.
Asked about the potential for a letdown off last week’s slugfest with Henderson, Milano admitted it was a concern — until he saw Avon Grove put up 41 points in last week’s outing.
“That got our attention as a coaching staff — and I think that was picked up by the players,” he said.
Going into next week’s cross-town matchup, Milano says all of his team’s goals — primarily winning the Ches-Mont title— are within reach.”
“[Downingtown East vs. Downingtown West] is always a special night,” he said. “But they’re all big games at this point, and tonight was no exception.”
Downingtown West 50, Avon Grove 13
Downingtown West 23 21 6 0 – 50
Avon Grove 0 6 7 0 – 13
DW- Meleski 5 run (Caruso kick)
DW- Meleski 1 run (Caruso kick)
DW- Schmidt 23 pass from Pagel (Caruso kick)
AG- Braxton 9 pass from Peck (kick blocked)
DW- Varano fumble recovery in end zone (Caruso kick)
DW- Pagel 35 run (Caruso kick)
DW- Meleski 23 pass from Pagel (Caruso kick)
AG- C. Davis 82 run (Scarpato kick)
DW- Varano 75 kickoff return (kick missed)
First Downs 10 3
Yards Rushing 203 80
Yards Passing 154 112
Total Yards 357 192
Passing 7-8-0 10-25-0
Fumbles-Lost 2-0 3-1
Penalties 7-50 6-35
Punts/Avg. 2-32 4-27
RUSHING: Downingtown West: Meleski 8-78, 2 TD; Reyes 7-13; Pagel 7-57, TD; Egan 3-8; Sauder 2-32; Bunhu 2-15.
Avon Grove: Davis 3-80, TD; Peck 7-(minus-1); Kush 1-(minus-2).
PASSING: Downingtown West: Pagel 7-8-0, 154 yards, 2 TD.
Avon Grove: Peck 10-25-0, 112 yards, TD.
RECEIVING: Downingtown West: Schmitt 3-61, TD; Meleski 2-53, TD; Sauder 1-22; Varano 1-19.
Avon Grove: D’Aquanno 3-15; Davis 2-51; Kush 2-8; Moran 1-22; Braxton 1-9, TD; Amanto 1-7.
SACKS: Downingtown West: Nanni, Speca, Perelli.