Friday, December 7, 2012
Coatesville reaches first state title game
By PETER DiGIOVANNI
DOWNINGTOWN -- Chocolate Town here they come.
For the first time in school history Coatesville will be playing for a PIAA Class AAAA championship. The Red Raiders built a three-touchdown lead and then held off a furious La Salle comeback to post a 42-35 triumph in the Eastern Final at Downingtown West’s Kottmeyer Stadium on Friday. The win was Coateville’s 11th in a row and moves them to 13-2 on the season. More importantly, it advances them to the Class AAAA title game next Saturday at Hersheypark Stadium at 6 p.m. against the winner of today’s Western final between North Allegheny and Wilson West Lawn.
Coatesville, which held a 42-21 lead in the fourth quarter, saw the Explorers (11-3) score two quick touchdowns and were driving for the tying score when on a third-down play from the Coatesville 19-yard, Devonte Suber intercepted a Chris Kane pass to seal the victory.
Quarterback Emmett Hunt completed 16 of 29 passes for 234 yards and Coatesville rushed for another 278 as the explosive Red Raiders pounded the highly touted Explorer defense for 512 total yards and the offensive line, led by Dylan Morgan, did not allow a sack the entire night. La Salle had compiled 12 sacks last week against Parkland and dominated the line of scrimmage against the District 11 champs.
“We knew we had a battle with their defensive line tonight,” Morgan said. “We knew we had to just do our jobs and limit our mistakes and take control of the line of scrimmage. tonight we all worked together and we did the job. It was real physical out there and they started to take some shots, but at halftime our coaches told us to keep our heads and just do our jobs.”
Coatesville took a 28-21 lead into the locker room at halftime courtesy of two touchdown from Daquan Worley, an Emmett Hunt plunge and a Hunt to Chris Jones three-yard scoring pass right before the half. Jones had two TD receptions on the night, giving him 25 on the year, two behind Kevin Gulyas of Allentown Central Catholic on the PIAA list for most TD catches for a season.
LaSalle’s defense started to show its frustration as they seemd to take late shots at Jones and Jay Stocker just before the half.
“They punched Chris Jones in the back and then hit Jay late,” Coatesville head coach Matt Ortega said. “But at halftime we just told the kids to do their jobs, keep their composure and let’s get a big drive to start the second half.”
The Red Raiders obliged their head coach, taking the second half kickoff and went on a five minute, 45 second drive that went 84 yards on 14 plays. The Red Raiders used Worley on the ground and Hunt completed three third-down passes to keep the drive going. Worley finsihed the night with 146 yard rushing on 31 carries.
The drive ended when Hunt hit Jones down the left side for a 30-yard touchdown score for a 35-21 lead. Then, after forcing a LaSalle three-and-out, they went on another long drive. This one was a 12-play, five-plus minute march that ended with Worley going up the middle from five yards out for a 42-21 advantage. Dre Boggs had a big 46-yard run to set the Red Raiders up deep in LaSalle territory.
Coatesville dominated the third period, holding LaSalle to just three offensive plays and less than two minutes of ball possession.
With the score 42-21 it looked like another cakewalk for the Red Raiders on their way to Hershey. But after a 46-yard touchdown pass from Kane to Jimmy Herron, things got a little tighter on the Coatesville sideline. Herron became the Explorers first-choice receiver after Sean Coleman left the game in the first period with a knee injury.
Then, the unthinkable happened. With the ball on its own 48, Hunt fumbled the football and LaSalle’s Anthony Carlone recoverd. A 15-yard unsportsmanlike penalty gave LaSalle glorious field position.
Kane drove the Explorers down the field quickly and Jordan Meechum went in from three-yards out to make it a 42-35 game with 4:38 to play and the Red Raiders and their fans squirmed some more.
The LaSalle defense then forced a punt to take over the ball at its own 46 with 2:48 left to play.
Kane, who threw for 260 yards on 16 for 30 passing, drove LaSalle down the field and appeared to hit Herron at the Coatesville 10. Herron took his eyes off the ball and it fell incomplete and a very loud sigh came from the Red Raiders side of the field. Kane’s next pass went right into the hands of Suber and Coatesville celebrated wildly. A few plays later, and the Red Raiders were on their way to Hershey.
“We said coming into this game, ‘we are not Parkland, we are Coatesville,’” Hunt said. “My offensive line has been great all year and they were great tonight. I let my guys down with that fumble, but Devonte saved us with a big play. We are going to Hershey and it is a great feeling.”
Ortega was surrounded by his family after the win and seemed drained by the exhausting 48 minutes.
“I can’t even tell you how it feels to be going to the state finals,” Ortega said. “It is great for these kids, the school and the community. It is a great group of kids and a great community and I am glad to be a part of it.”
Coatesville 42, La Salle 35
La Salle 7 14 0 14-35
Coatesville 7 21 7 7 -42
L-Herron 7 run (Winslow kick)
C-Worley 11 pass from Hunt (Bollenbach kick)
C-Hunt 2 run (Bollenbach kick)
C-Worley 6 run (Bollenbach kick)
L-Kane 3 run (Winslow kick)
L-Coonahan 27 interception return (Winslow kick)
C-Jones 3 pass from Hunt (Bollenbach kick)
C-Jones 30 pass from Hunt (Bollenbach kick)
C-Worley 5 run (Bollenbach kick)
L-Herron 46 pass from Kane (Winslow kick)
L-Meechum 3 run (Winslow kick)
First downs 17 19
Yards rushing 105 278
Yards passing 260 234
Total yards 365 512
Passing 17-30-1 16-29-1
Fumbles-lost 0-0 1-1
Punts-avg 4-38.0 4-35.0
Penalties-yds 5-55 12-100
Rushing: LS: Meechum 11-80, TD; Herron 5-18, TD; Eife 1-14; Coleman 1-(-1); Kane 4-(-6). COAT: Worley 31-146, 2TD’s; Boggs 7-83; Jones 5-34; Hunt 6-15, TD.
Passing: LS: Kane 17-30-1 260 yards, TD. COAT: Hunt 16-29-1 234 yards, 3TD’s.
Receiving: LS: Herron 5-94, TD; Meechum 3-64; Halton 2-12; Givens 2-23; Eife 1-44; Herrmann 4-23. COAT: Jones 6-92, 2TD’s; Boggs 3-71; Worley 2-27, TD; Williams 3-23; Stocker 2-7; Burke 1-14.
Sacks: LS: None. COAT: Boykin, Pawling.
Interceptions: LS: Coonahan. COAT: Suber.