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Red Raiders Sports

Conestoga fights for postseason life versus Ridley

Posted Friday, October 08, 2010 by staff writer Peter Digiovanni, Daily Local News

http://www.dailylocal.com/articles/2010/10/08/sports/srv0000009601908.txt

Week six begins the second half of the scholastic football season, and already some teams are falling out of the playoff picture as well as their respective league races. There are some good games this weekend in the Ches-Mont League (Coatesville-Bishop Shanahan, W.C. Henderson-Downingtown West) and a big nonleague battle between Malvern Prep and Downingtown East.

But we look to the Central League where Conestoga is fighting for its playoff life and has the tough task of traveling to Ridley to play the tied-for-first-place Green Raiders (5-0). Conestoga head coach John Vogan talked about how his kids approach the Ridley game and about his defense's performance in last week's loss to Strath Haven.

"Our defense played pretty well against Strath Haven," Vogan said. "We made a lot of mistakes offensively with a lot of dropped passes and mistakes in other areas. We held up well defensively and we were only behind 14-7 in the fourth period and we had the ball.

"As far as the Ridley game, our kids do not get any more excited to play Ridley than other teams. But, they do get excited to play a team that is one of the best in southeastern Pennsylvania year in and year out. We do not have time to feel sorry for ourselves about our loss to Strath Haven because we have to go down and play one of the best teams in the area this week.

"Ridley is very sound and they have a quarterback who is managing the game well for them and (Jalen) Randolph is one of the best

backs around. And Ridley is also strong up front and defensively they get after you and do not miss tackles. (Defensive coordinator) Ralph Baty has been there a long time and he always has his kids prepared to play good, tough, hard-nosed football with no nonsense. You have to be at your best to stay in the game with Ridley and do not make mistakes.

"We have a back in Blair Brooks who is leading the county in rushing and just having a great year. And we get a plus with getting (running back) Gene Gibson back in our backfield, also. But Blair is just a great kid on and off the field. He does everything you ask of him in practice and during the games and we expect him to have another big game for us."

Pick: Ridley 28, Conestoga 20

Bishop Shanahan at Coatesville

The Red Raiders established a running game in their 21-17 win over Unionville. Shanahan has three of the top receivers in the area in Chris Cordivari, Keegan Lawton and Mike Ibarguen. Coatesville's defense is allowing just 13 points per game.

Pick: Coatesville 28, Bishop Shanahan 14.

West Chester Henderson at Downingtown West

West is on a two-game winning streak, while the Warriors are 5-0. The Whippets have not turned the ball over in those two wins. The Henderson option should give Downingtown trouble, but expect the Whippets to be able to run the football themselves. This will be a close one.

Pick: W.C. Henderson 17, Downingtown West 14.

West Chester Rustin at Great Valley

This may be a game of two teams heading in opposite directions. Rustin has not allowed anything since its week two loss to Shanahan, while Great Valley is coming off a defeat to Oxford. For Rustin, Anthony Nash is averaging 28 yards per catch and Frankie O'Donnell is close to 10 yards per rush.

Pick: W.C. Rustin 40, Great Valley 14.

Oxford at Unionville

The Hornets broke into the win column last week, while Unionville dropped its second straight game. The Indians should bounce back here with a big game from quarterback Connor Gades, who has thrown for 582 yards this season.

Pick: Unionville 27, Oxford 7.

Saturday's games

Sun Valley at Kennett

The Blue Demons are the last winless team in the county, but with the hard running of Anthony Torello, who is averaging seven yards per carry, Kennett wins its first game.

Pick: Kennett 20, Sun Valley 13.

West Chester East at

Avon Grove

Avon Grove has surrendered 83 points in its last two games. East has a good passing attack led by receiver Chuck Phelan, who is leading the county with 29 receptions. Upset pick alert.

Pick: W.C. East 28, Avon Grove 27.

Malvern Prep at

Downingtown East

The Friars had a week off to prepare for the Cougars. East exploded on Avon Grove for 52 points last week. Junior running back Drew Harris has 12 touchdowns already this season and quarterback Trey Lauletta looks like he is hitting his stride.

Pick: Downingtown East 30, Malvern Prep 17.

To contact staff writer Peter Digiovanni, e-mail cpn11716@comcast.net.

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