COATESVILLE — It can happen so fast, and against an explosive football team like Coatesville, it often does. Just ask Avon Grove.
Hanging tough, down by just one score well into the second period, the underdog Red Devils relaxed ever so slightly, and in what seemed like the blink of an eye, the host Red Raiders had a commanding 28-point lead en route to a 42-13 triumph on Friday in the Ches-Mont National opener for both. Afterwards, however, the Coatesville camp admitted that it wasn't an exceptional evening of football.
"We started off slow because we took (Avon Grove) too lightly,' said sophomore quarterback Jordan Young.
"I saw in the eyes of some of our guys that we still have some work to do,' added head coach Matt Ortega. "With our experience, we shouldn't have any excuses. I have been harping on that. We have to come out and do a better job of preparing for every game no matter who we are playing.'
But if there were any lingering doubts that the Red Raiders (1-0, 4-0 overall) were going to have trouble dispatching the Red Devils, it evaporated when Avon Grove (0-1, 1-3) turned it over twice and added a special team's blunder that led to three Coatesville touchdowns in an eye-popping 3-minute, 11-second span late in the first half. Senior linebacker Tyler Burke registered two of the big plays for the Raiders.
"We hung in there pretty well until the middle of the second quarter,' said Avon Grove's first-year head coach Doug Langley.
"They just have so many athletes, they are just so big, so fast and so explosive, it only takes a few seconds for them to jump up on you. They are a great team.'
But other than an eight-play, 69-yard scoring march in the opening period — capped by a short run by Isaiah Flamer -- Coatesville was a bit unimpressive until the lightning strikes began. A sack by Burke forced an Avon Grove fumble, which was recovered by teammate Steve Pawling. On the next play, Young found wideout Jay Stocker for a 42-yard score.
"We tried to open it up and work on the passing game because teams have been loading the box to try to stop (star runner) Dequan (Worley),' Young acknowledged.
On the next possession, lineman Danny Glass got a couple fingers on a Devils' punt, which floated into the arms of Burke, who took it 53 yards the other way for another TD. Coatesville made it 28-0 at the half when Worley broke six tackles on a 24-yard run, setting up another Young scoring toss, this time from nine yards to Jalen Hudson. And the Raiders threatened to score again before the intermission, but turned it over as time expired.
"Last year, we had three or four non-offensive touchdowns at this point and until today we didn't have any,' Ortega pointed out. "So we've been stressing that we need to get touchdowns other ways and we got one with that return.'
Avon Grove's first score came when a bad snap out of the shotgun led to a Young fumble, which was recovered in the end zone by Devils' lineman Josh Matalon early in the third quarter. But on the very next play from scrimmage, Worley rambled 63 yards to get it back immediately. He finished with 124 yards on the ground on just eight carries.
"We've been really working on getting a vertical passing game going,' Ortega explained. "Tonight, we showed we can do that. We know it's something we are going to eventually have to do. We've been having so much success running it, we've haven't really had to do it much.'
With Coatesville comfortably ahead 42-6 and most of the starters on the sidelines, the Red Devils finally got an offensive touchdown — a six yard pass from Tanner Peck to Matt Lawrence -- to culminate an 80-yard drive early in the final period.
With more of a focus on throwing the football, Young connected on 12 of 23 pass attempts for 208 yards and two TDs. His favorite target was Stocker, who hauled in five catches for 98 yards.
"We are neighbors so we like to throw it around on weekends,' said Young, who lives just six houses from Stocker on the same street. "We get together a lot and work on the passing game.'
Peck aired it out 36 times and rolled up 239 passing yards, but the Avon Grove ground game was non-existent, accounting for negative three yards in the contest. Peck found six different receivers.
When asked how the 2013 Coatesville squad matches up to the '12 version that advanced all the way to the state championship game, Langley responded by saying: "I think they are better this year than last year.'
Coatesville 42, Avon Grove 13
Avon Grove 0 0 6 7 -- 13
Coatesville 7 21 14 0 --42
C — Flamer 1 run (O'Deans kick)
C — Stocker 42 pass from Young (O'Deans kick)
C — Burke 53 yard punt return (O'Deans kick)
C — Hudson 9 pass from Young (O'Deans kick)
AG — Matalon recovered fumble in end zone (pass failed)
C — Worley 63 run (O'Deans kick)
C — Moreno 15 pass from Warren (O'Deans kick)
AG — Lawrence 6 pass from Peck (Scarpato kick)
First downs 13 17
Yards rushing (-3) 118
Yards passing 239 250
Total yards 236 368
Passing 18-37-0-0 14-26-3-1
Fumbles-lost 2-1 1-1
Penalties 8-50 9-80
Punts-Avg. 4-34.0 2-25.0
RUSHING — AG: Parola 11-16; Bush 1-5; Radecki 1 (-4); Peck 6- (-23); Kim 1-3. C: Worley 8-124, TD; Hudson 4-1; Flamer 5-22, TD; Young 4- (-39); Warren 2-10.
PASSING — AG: Peck 18-36-0, 239 yards, TD. C: Young 12-23-1, 208 yards, 2 TDs; Warren 2-27-0, TD.
RECEIVING — AG: Radecki 7-51; Bush 2-54; D'Aquanno 1-19; Lawrence 3-41, TD; Parola 2-59; Bordas 2-17. C: Stocker 5-98, TD; Hudson 4-73, TD; Clark 2-2; Coleman 2-63; Moreno 1-15, TD.
Sacks: AG: Green 2. C: Burke, Suber, Boykin, Glass.
Interceptions: AG: D'Aquanno.