Coatesville’s offense sputters in 31-0 playoff loss to North Penn

Knights shut down potent running game, wear down Coatesville D

By Kyle Carrozza, Staff Writer, The Times

Jordan Young throws the ball in the first quarter. Young will be one of the offensive leaders returning next year.

Jordan Young throws the ball in the first quarter. Young will be one of the offensive leaders returning next year.

CALN – Even if a team does well all year, dominating on offense and defense to roll to a near-perfect record, at playoff time, it only takes one game to end the season.

Coatesville did not look like the same team that started the season 9-0 in its 31-0 playoff loss to North Penn at home on Friday night.

From the opening drive, Coatesville’s offense struggled. Sophomore quarterback Jordan Young was back at the helm after missing two weeks with a sprained finger. Though he and senior running back Isaiah Flamer picked up yards, a throw behind the line of scrimmage was ruled a backward pass, allowing North Penn to pick up the ball for the turnover.

“Those [turnovers] are killers. We just struggled on offense the last two games, and we really couldn’t get anything going,” said Coatesville Head Coach Matt Ortega.

Coatesville’s defense was able to limit the visitors’ success on the ensuing drive, but a 35-yard field goal made the score 3-0.

Late in the first quarter, the home side looked for a restart.

On a long drive, North Penn worked the play action, looking for a deep pass over the middle to the endzone. Not fooled by the fake, senior safety David London stepped inside the receiver and came down with the interception.

“We played good defense early on. We got the turnover, we held them to a field goal,” said Ortega.

But Coatesville could not translate that turnover into points.

Young and Flamer once again gained good yardage to drive into opponent territory, but once again, the drive ended with a turnover, this time caused by a fumble on a run up the middle.

“The key today was just getting early points. We needed to get early points in the first half. That was the whole goal. We couldn’t get those early points, and we were just hanging on,” said Ortega.

In the second quarter, the Knights found a rhythm running the ball off tackle for consistent gains. Their success on the ground set up a touchdown with two minutes left in the half.

Going for it on fourth-and-one, North Penn snapped the ball to their halfback as the quarterback faked the sneak. The defense was fooled, leaving a receiver wide open in the endzone for a 28-yard touchdown pass.

The teams went into halftime with the score 10-0. Though Flamer provided plenty of agility on the ground, Coatesville looked to be missing the big-play speed of star running back Daquan Worley, sidelined with a torn ACL.

The opening drive of the second half seemed to summarize the gulf between the teams on the night.

Starting at their own 35, North Penn ran the ball eight straight times and then scored on a 9-yard pass.

“That’s their game plan. Their game plan is to just keep wearing on you and keep the clock running,” said Ortega.

Coatesville looked to lack the threat of a deep passing game all night, particularly when trying to make a second half comeback.

Though the defense did its best, Coatesville was forced to try fourth down conversions for most of the second half, giving North Penn a short field and allowing them to score two more. The Vikings took their 31-0 lead to the end of the game.

The student section sings "Don't Stop Believin'" to rally the team at halftime.

The student section sings “Don’t Stop Believin'” to rally the team at halftime.

Though the season is over, Ortega encouraged his players after the game, telling the seniors that they will be moving to new chapters in their lives and that they should be impressed with themselves for winning 31 games in the past three years.

He was also optimistic about the players that will be returning next year. Though seniors Tyler Burke, Isaiah Flamer, and Daquan Worley will be graduating, Coatesville has quite a few key players returning, including starting quarterback Jordan Young.

“Jordan still wasn’t 100%, but I thought he came out here and played his butt off,” said Ortega. “He showed us glimpses of what he could do next year.

Ortega also said he expects junior wide receiver and safety Jay Stocker and junior linebacker Stephon Pawling to step up to fill the voids left by Worley and Burke.

“We’ll start around those guys. We have enough skill. We’ll get these guys in the weight room and find some young linemen, and we’ll be back at it next year,” he said.

Though the team will be disappointed by Friday night’s loss, Coatesville still had a strong season this year, going 9-1 in the regular season, including a blowout over a very strong Bishop Shanahan team and getting thrilling wins over Downingtown East and West Chester Henderson, the kinds of wins that the players and the student body will remember when they think of the Class of 2014.

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