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Red Raiders Sports

Downingtown battle highlights Week 8 slate

Posted Friday, October 22, 2010 by Peter DiGiovanni, Daily Local News

With the District 1 playoffs just three weeks away, Week 8 has some games that could impact area teams' postseason hopes and dreams. West Chester Henderson has lost two in a row, and the Warriors host red-hot Coatesville in a game both teams need badly.

But most of the area will be following the Battle of the Downingtowns as East tries to defeat West for the first time since 2005. The Cougars and Whippets both have league championship hopes and West must win out to qualify for the playoffs. The Whippets have won four in a row since an 0-3 start and they just exploded for 52 points in a victory over Avon Grove.

East is on a six-game roll and the Cougars present problems for any defense. The emotions are always very high in this blood war, and East head coach Mike Matta talked about how to get his team ready for such a big game.

"The kids really get excited for West," Matta said. "And you want them to be hyped up but they can get too hyped up and lose focus if you are not careful. It is a tough thing. We have not beaten them in a while. But in 2006 and 2008 they had the better team. Last year we got outplayed and outcoached. I did not do a good job.

"But they are very tough. You knew they would get it turned around. They are very well coached and they have tough Downingtown kids that have a lot of pride. This will be a good test for us."

Pick: This is a real tough one. But, I think East will make more big plays and put a lot of pressure on the West defense.

Downingtown East 28, Downingtown West 21.

Coatesville at W.C. Henderson

The Warriors need this to keep their playoff hopes alive. Coatesville is playing real well right now and Dom Wilson is back from injury and went for 108 yards last week against West Chester East. For the Warriors, the season is on the line.

Pick: Coatesville 21, W.C. Henderson 17.

Springfield at Conestoga

This should be an offensive shootout. The Pioneers' Dexter Bridge has an amazing 40 catches and running back Blair Brooks has over 800 yards. Springfield can run the football and score points, just not enough.

Pick: Conestoga 34, Springfield 17.

Kennett at Octorara

Break up the Blue Demons. Kennett has won two in a row and only allowed 20 points in those two wins. Kennett head coach Scott Green has done a great job getting the kids to believe. The Blue Demons' defense will be tested by Braves quarterback Dan Solomon, who has 10 touchdown passes.

Pick: Kennett 21, Octorara 13.

West Chester Rustin at Oxford

Oxford has two wins for the first time in a long time. Head coach Mike Pietlock's club got a big game from Brad Tinnin, who rushed for 233 yards, last week. But Rustin has a different gear then Oxford and the Knights should get a big game from receiver Anthony Nash, who totaled 147 yards against Henderson in the Knights' 28-15 win.

Pick: West Chester Rustin 34, Oxford 10.

Avon Grove at Massilon (Ohio)

I give the Red Devils credit for taking on one of the traditonal powers in Ohio in Paul Brown Stadium that seats 16,000 fans. But, the Avon Grove defense has been getting gashed lately as Downingtown West poured on 522 yards of total offense last week. This could get ugly for the visitors.

Pick: Massilon 42, Avon Grove 13.

Saturday's games

West Chester East at Bishop Shanahan

The Eagles have lost two in a row and probably need two wins to make the Class AAA playoffs. They get one of them here as the Eagles have too much offense for the Vikings.

Pick: Bishop Shanahan 28, West Chester East 14.

Episcopal Academy at Malvern Prep

I said before the season that Malvern would win the Inter-Ac and give talented head coach Kevin Pellegrini his first league crown. Look for Malvern to pour it on with Shawn Wilson and Bob Scaramuzza having big rushing games.

Pick: Malvern Prep 34, Episcopal Academy 7.

Great Valley at Unionville

Unionville still has faint playoff hopes alive and head coach Pat Clark has his foot on the gas pedal — which means Great Valley is in for a long day.

Pick: Unionville 35, Great Valley 13.

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

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