By PETER DiGIOVANNI
DOWNINGTOWN - When you come into Kottmeyer Stadium to play Downingtown West, you better be prepared to play 48 minutes of hard-nosed football. Saturday night, Bishop Shanahan went into the locker room at halfime tied and looked like they might be able to spring the upset.
But a determined and focused group of Whippets outscored the undermanned Eagles in the second half on their way to a 31-7 Ches-Mont League National Division triumph. Downingtown West (3-0 Ches-Mont National, 5-2 overall) ran the football for 254 yards -- 116 by Mitch Meleski -- and wore down the Eagles (1-3, 3-4) whose front lines went both ways as they scored 24 unanswered points in the second half to take control."We came out more determined after halftime,' Meleski said. "There was no magic bullet or anything, we just decided to come out and do our jobs and play our game. Our offensive line did a great job for me opening up holes, because without them, I would not get any yards.'
Both teams had chances to score in the first half, but a big interception by the Whippets' Lucas McMahon killed a long Shanahan drive at the West eight-yard line.
At the end of the first half, Downingtown West drove deep into Shanahan territory, but failed to score, which set up the only Shanahan touchdown of the night.Quarterback Dan Murphy hit Jeff Zebrowski with a screen pass to put the ball deep into West territory. Three play later, Murphy threw a jump ball into the end zone that Ben Smith hauled in and it was a 7-7 game at halftime. Smith caught eight balls for 91 yards to lead the Eagles."That was my fault at the end of the half not getting points for us,' Downingtown West head coach Mike Milano said. "Then, they hit the rocket screen and the big kid catches a touchdown pass, and we have a new ball game. Give them credit. This is a crosstown game for us because all the kids know each other. It was a tough game.'
Tough is a word you could use to describe the Whippets offensive line in the second half. Downingtown West took the second-half kickoff and drove 66 yards in 11 plays to make it 14-7 when Braden Harper knifed in from the two. Colin Domblesky hauled in a 42-yard pass from Tyler McNulty to set up the score. Domblesky had a big game catching three balls for 79 yards."We just have a bunch of tough kids like Meleski, (Jimmy) DiSantis, (Derrick) Boyer and Braden Harper,' Milano said. "And Colin Domblesky had his best game of the season tonight, making people miss after he caught the football. We don't have a feature back we can give the ball to 30 times, but we have a lot of tough kids who can play football. We don't scare anybody getting off the bus, but these kids are great.'
A big turning point came midway in the third after Shanahan recovered a fumble at its own six. A bad snap back to Murphy was fallen on in the end zone by Eric Stanko to give the Whippets a 21-7 edge.
West controlled the clock in the fourth, outscoring Shanahan, 10-0, for the 31-7 final."That snap in the end zone was a killer for us,' Shanahan head coach Paul Meyers said. "And we took some bad penalties that hurt us. And we still have three linemen out with injury and we just wore down because all the kids are going both ways.'Note: The West defense, led by Pat Coyne and Matt Bokovitz, held Shanahan to 27 yards rushing.
Downingtown West 31, Bishop Shanahan 7
Bishop Shanahan 0 7 0 0-7
Downingtown West 0 7 14 10-31
D-Meleski 14 run (Bowler kick)
BS-Smith 3 pass from Murphy (Geiger kick)
D-Harper 2 run (Bowler kick)
D-Stanko recovers fumble in end zone (Bowler kick)
D-Bowler 31 FG
D-DiSantis 24 run (Bowler kick)
First downs 9 21
Yards rushing 27 254
Yards passing 161 105
Total yards 188 359
Passing 14-23-2 8-16-1
Fumbles-lost 2-2 5-2
Punts.avg 7-39.5 3-34.0
Penalties-yds 6-70 6-45
Rushing: Shan: Murphy 12-20; Pasvanis 2-5; Riccardo 3-10; McLaughlin 3-2; Jackson 3-(-9); Smith 3-(-1); Angelini 2-0. Down: Meleski 21-116, TD; Harper 9-50, TD; DiSantis 9-42, TD; Pagel 6-28; McNulty 1-12; Riddick 1-10; Boyer 1-(-4).
Passing: Shan: Murphy 8-13-2 136 yards TD; McLaughlin 6-11-0 25 yards. Down: Pagel 6-11-1 44 yards; McNulty 2-5-0 61 yards.
Receiving: Shan: Smith 8-91, TD; Zebrowski 5-65; Angelini 1-5. Down: Meleski 4-11; Domblesky 3-79; Harper 1-15.
Sacks: Shan: Kelly. Down: McMahon, Bokovitz, Coyne.
Interceptions: Shan: Zebrowski. Down: McMahon, Goodrich.