Coatesville’s stifling defense makes up for offense’s mistakes

Turnovers keep game close, running backs step up for 27-14 Coatesville win

By Kyle Carrozza, Staff Writer, The Times

Daquan Worley rushes down the sideline after breaking through the defense. Coatesville stuck with the middle run all night, gaining small chunks for long drives.

Daquan Worley rushes down the sideline after breaking through the defense. Coatesville stuck with the middle run all night, gaining small chunks for long drives.

CALN – Whether talking about high-level professionals or high school student-athletes, good teams make mistakes. Being a winning team does not mean never making mistakes but being able to overcome those errors and succeeding in spite of them.

In a game that came down to the closing minutes, Coatesville was able to overcome its mistakes Friday night, beating Central Dauphin 27-14 at home.

From the start, Coatesville showed indicators that Friday night would not be another blowout where the team could cruise to victory.

On the first play from scrimmage, sophomore quarterback Jordan Young, looking for his receiver down the sideline, threw an interception, which was followed by a facemask penalty on the interception return.

But the home team’s defense, as would be the case for much of the night, quickly made up for the interception.

On a Central Dauphin end-around, Coatesville senior defensive lineman Titus Richards got into the backfield and took the ball right out of the wide receiver’s hands. Even this play was marred by error, though. After stripping the ball, Richards lateraled to senior linebacker Tyler Burke, who took the ball inside of the opposition’s 10, only for the return to be called back to Coatesville territory because of an illegal block in the back.

Aside from the turnovers, Coatesville’s offense did look consistent throughout the game, nickel and diming their way down the field with short passes and a persistence in running between the tackles with senior running backs Daquan Worley and Isaiah Flamer.

“They were taking our cutback away, so we went to more of a lead zone play and went right at them,” said Coatesville Head Coach Matt Ortega.

This consistency allowed Coatesville to move the ball 66 yards on their second possession, ending with a 12-yard touchdown run by Flamer.

The lead would not last long. On the following kickoff, Central Dauphin’s returner took the ball on one hop, found a hole in the coverage, and cut outside for a 79-yard touchdown return.

Worley appeared to reclaim the lead for the home team. On the kickoff after that, Worley took the ball across the field and raced down the sideline to strike back with a touchdown return of his own. But once again, the penalty flags flew. A hold and an unsportsmanlike conduct call took Coatesville out of the endzone all the way back to its own 11, the drive eventually resulting in a punt.

The top of the second quarter saw another offensive mistake redeemed by another big play on defense.

Scrambling out of the pocket, Young took a hit and fumbled the ball, giving it away. But on the first play of the Panthers’ drive, Flamer grabbed an interception.

Once again, Coatesville’s offense found consistency, which was, once again, marred by an error.

Stringing together a 14-play drive, the offense played a physical game to work the ball down to Central Dauphin’s three. What looked like a definite scoring drive quickly went sour when a sloppy hand off led to a fumble and another turnover.

But Coatesville’s defense once again stepped up, forcing a three-and-out. Senior defensive end Mike Boykin, in particular, caused havoc, getting past the offensive line all night to pressure the quarterback and stifle the run.

“I just try to stop runs—just stop 24 [Central Dauphin’s running back]. I think we did that. We did a pretty good job, but we’re not satisfied,” he said.

Getting the ball back in Panthers’ territory, the offense made the most of the defensive stop. A 23-yard run by Worley allowed Young to take the ball in on a sneak.

At the half, the score stood at 14-7, uncommonly close for a Coatesville team that is used to being able to coast through later parts of the game.

A botched snap led to another Coatesville turnover early in the third quarter, but once again, the defense held as the offense found its legs.

Nine straight running plays took the home team 86 yards, including a 22-yard Worley run to cap the drive off with a touchdown.

“I’ve never played with a kid so focused who works so hard in the off season, how he trains and makes himself better every day,” Ortega said of Worley.

Coatesville led 21-7 going into the fourth quarter, but the lead seemed far from comfortable.

It looked even less comfortable when, less than eight minutes left, Central Dauphin made its biggest play of the night. Deep in their own territory, the Panthers handed the ball off. The running back found a seam in the line, and took the ball 84 yards, down to Coatesville’s 7.

Solid coverage led to three incomplete passes and what appeared to be a stopped drive, but Central Dauphin completed their fourth down attempt to put the score at 21-14.

Though the Coatesville’s offensive performance was a mixed bag all night, with the game on the line, there are few players better than Daquan Worley.

With seven minutes left, Coatesville got the ball back. Ortega’s persistence up the middle paid off. The gaps looked a little wider, and the linebackers half a step slower as Worley and Flamer combined to run the ball and the clock.

The home team held the ball for six-and-a-half minutes to run the clock down to :34 before encountering a fourth down at the Panthers’ 15. With six yards to go for the first down, Ortega’s persistence with the run all night paid off.

“We felt like we had a formation where we could run a counter. They were outnumbered to that side,” said Ortega.

Coatesville’s nickel-and-dime run game throughout the night made Central Dauphin overcommit as Worley headed for the left side of the line. When he cut back to the right side, the defense could not recover, and Worley took the ball down the sideline for a 15-yard touchdown, his second of the night to go with over 200 yards rushing.

With the score 27-14 with 25 seconds left, the threat was over. Coatesville’s defense had made up for its offense’s errors, and Flamer and Worley took over when the game was on the line.

Coatesville starts its Ches Mont schedule next week against Avon Grove, which is coming off a 41-21 loss to Unionville. The team appears to be the best in its league, maybe even better than last year’s. Look for them to continue the business-as-usual wins in the coming weeks.

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One Comment

  1. Michael says:

    Get your tickets to Hershey once again. This team will go undefeated and bring a State Championship to Coatesville.

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