Red Raiders stomp Neshaminy, 63-28, for ninth straight win
By Kyle Carrozza, Staff Writer, The Times
CALN — In high school football, good teams make subtle adjustments to eke out wins in times of adversity. Great teams impose their will.
The Coatesville Red Raiders fell into the latter category Friday night, turning what was a close game in the third quarter to a 63-28 blowout of Neshaminy. Their second consecutive home playoff win means the Red Raiders will play for the District 1 championship next week, against the winner of Saturday’s Spring-Ford/Pennridge contest.
The game started out comfortably enough. On the second play from scrimmage, junior running back Daquan Worley, who has had a penchant for big plays in big games, took an inside handoff and blew past the defense for an 86-yard touchdown run.
Not to be outdone, Neshaminy displayed the run game that Suburban One Conference teams are known for. With help from a roughing the kicker call, the Redskins put together a 16-play drive that took nearly 10 minutes, allowing them to score while also keeping the potent Red Raiders’ offense off the field.
“We knew going in that they were going to try to control the ball,” said Coatesville Head Coach Matt Ortega. “They lost their best vertical threat, Justin Andrews.” Andrews, Neshaminy’s star wide receiver, broke his collarbone in last week’s game.
For all the power Neshaminy showed, Coatesville trumped them with speed. On the following drive, senior quarterback Emmett Hunt hit senior wide receiver Dre Boggs on a slant. Boggs’s speed turned what appeared to be a short gain into an 86-yard touchdown.
Senior wide receiver Chris Jones showed speed of his own, scoring Coatesville’s next two. For one, Jones outran the coverage team for a 54-yard return. On the first play of Coatesville’s next drive, Neshaminy’s safeties bit on a play-action fake, and Jones, left in single coverage beat his man in a footrace down the sidelines for a 59-yard touchdown reception.
“Other teams can’t practice for the tempo and speed our guys play at,” said Ortega.
For their part, Neshaminy’s power running did allow them to stick in the game. An inside run and broken tackles gave Redskins running back Nate Hall an 82-yard touchdown.
But Coatesville would stretch their lead back to three touchdowns before the half. Getting the ball with 1:16 left, Hunt threw to four different receivers in less than a minute en route to an 18-yard touchdown to Boggs.
“We have a lot of weapons, a lot of fast guys,” said Jones.
Down 35-14 at halftime, Neshaminy made sure that this would not be another game where Coatesville ran the ball to an easy victory.
After receiving the second half kickoff, the Redskins only took two plays to score. Their offensive line provided good blocks for inside runs, and Hall was able to break tackles for a 54-yard touchdown run.
On the ensuing kickoff, they surprised Coatesville with an onside kick but recovered it just short of 10 yards, giving the Red Raiders the ball at midfield. Still, Neshaminy would have the ball back soon enough.
After holding Worley to a short gain, a Redskins player stripped the ball, and the fumble recovery gave them possession at their own 44. A Coatesville defense that looked too comfortable allowed Neshaminy more success on the ground. Another touchdown made the score 35-28 midway through the third quarter.
Neshaminy had momentum going their way and were within one score with plenty of time left.
Emmett Hunt decided that was the closest they would get.
“I took it upon myself to put the team on my back,” said Hunt. “I said ‘I got us.’”
Three plays later, he backed up his words, throwing a deep pass to Jones for a 60-yard touchdown.
“We watched film, and we knew we could pass against them; we knew they couldn’t cover all of us,” said Jones.
After a good return by Jones, Coatesville started the next drive in their opponents’ territory. A pass interference call and a good run by Hunt allowed Worley to punch in a 1-yard touchdown run, and then a few key passes by Hunt and consistent running allowed Worley to get another touchdown, this one from 26-yards out.
“I don’t know about everybody else, but I was confident through the whole game,” said Hunt, who finished 12 for 14 with over 300 yards and four touchdown passes.
With the score 56-28 midway through the fourth quarter and Coatesville crowding the box, Neshaminy was forced to utilize their lackluster passing game.
But senior cornerback Vinnie Williams imposed his will in a way that few defensive players can. On the Redskins’ next drive, he broke up a long pass and barely missed the interception. His big hit on fourth down jarred the ball from the receiver’s hands to end the drive. And on Neshaminy’s last drive where they still looked to be hoping for a comeback, Williams jumped his receiver’s route, plucked the ball from the air, and raced down the sideline for a 44-yard touchdown return.
“Our team’s resilient,” said Ortega. “It’s a sign of character.” After allowing the visitors the beginnings of a comeback, Coatesville scored four unanswered touchdowns to make the final score 63-28.
Often, people regard Suburban One teams as a class above Ches-Monts, but Friday night saw a Coatesville team that simply outmatched its opponent on the way to the District 1 final. However, Chris Jones knows that the Red Raiders still have much work ahead of them.
“We have to stay humble, go to practice, and get better,” said Jones, who finished with 151 receiver yards, two touchdown receptions, and a punt return touchdown.
The game will be available to watch on 3CTVLive.com
Tomorrow’s game between the Pennridge Rams and the Spring-Ford Rams will decide Coatesville’s opponent in next week’s game. Pennridge relies heavily on their star running back Mike Class who averages nearly 10 yards per carry. Spring-Ford plays a spread offense with a variety of threats to provide options for quarterback Hank Coyne.