By PETER DiGIOVANNI
The final full week of the scholastic football reagular season is here already. The spotlight game is a battle for the Ches-Mont League National Division title a between undefeated Coatesville and red-hot Downingtown West at Kottmeyer Stadium.
The Whippets ((7-2) are coming off a very emotional 29-28 win over arch rival Downingtown East and have now won six games in a row. Coatesville is a bigger hurdle than the Cougars and head coach Mike Milano talked about what they bring to the table.
"Coatesville presents many challenges,' Milano said. "On offense, they are huge and athletic up front with two very good backs in (Daquan) Worley and (Isiah) Flamer. As always, my guys will be outmanned by about 90 pounds per guy up front. Our issue with Coatesville is that you must respect their speed on the edge and at wideout. We will need to be more physical than last week in order to get stops and provide our offense with opportunities.
"Defensively, Coatesville will be the best we have faced so far. They are big, fast and athletic. We will lean on (quarterback) Nick Pagel to lead us again this week. His ability to run our option attack and also to throw the football will be the key for us. We will need to be balanced to be effective this week.'
Coatesville has won all nine games this season, but a rash of injuries have hit the squad. Quarterback Jordan Young is questionable again.
Coach Matt Ortega has much respect for the Whippets and talked about what West can do on the field.
"They do so many different things offensively,' Ortega said. 'They run option, wing-t and so many things that they are hard to prepare for, especially defensively. As far as how we are playing, I think the kids now understand our first option is to run the football and play good defense.
"We are a different team from last year and this is our identity this season. And to beat West and win the Ches-Mont League has been our number one goal since the summer. This is the goal we had going into this season.'
Pick: Downingtown West is on a roll. but, Coatesville's size will be too much to overcome in a tight game. Coatesville 28, Downingtown West 24.
Oxford (7-2) at Unionville (7-2), 7 p.m.
It is not a strecth to say that this is the biggest football game for Oxford in about 20 years. A win and you're in the playoffs with the loser's season ending. Oxford has big-play people that can strike in a hurry. The Hornets rushed for 566 yards against Sun Valley, but QB Ethan Herb can also throw the ball, with Ryan Hubley being his main target. Unionvile received big games from Garrett Scargill and Dom DiBiaggio in last week's win over Great Valley.
Pick: Unionville 28, Oxford 20.
Conestoga (6-3) at Garnet Valley (9-0), 7 p.m.
Conestoga's playoff hoes were dashed last week in a loss to Upper Darby. The Jaguars are undefeated and looking to clinch the Central League crown. The task for the Pioneers is how to slow down a Garnet Valley offense that has scored 30 or more points in all but one of its games. Running backs Jake Irving (9TDs) and Vicent Razzano (13TDs) have 22 touchdowns between them and QB Christian Portale has thrown for 14 scores and only one interception.
Pick: Garnet Valley 27, Conestoga 14.
Malvern Prep (5-2) at Episcopal Academy (8-1), 7 p.m.
The Friars have scored 91 points the last two weeks behind the play of superb running back Troy Gallen. The Churchmen are the defending Inter-Ac champs. This is a tough one, but Malvern could pull off the surprise.
Pick: Malvern Prep 21, Episcopal Academy 17.
Downingtown East (4-5) at W.C. Henderson (5-4), 7 p.m.
The Warriors are in the Class AAA playoffs while the Cougars find themselves in a very unlikely spot outside the Class AAAA postseason. Henderson can run the football effectively against East and may want the game a little more.
Pick: W.C. Henderson 24, Downingtown East 14.
West Chester Rustin (9-0) at Octorara (1-8), 7 p.m.
The Golden Knights wrap up yet another unbeaten Ches-Mont American slate with a win. Look for Terry Loper to explode on the Braves. Rustin's Sean Steinmetz, along with Coatesville's Tyler Burke are the best defensive players in the Ches-Mont. QB Alex Gooden will have to have a monster game for Octorara to have a shot.
Pick: West Chester Rustin 42, Octorara 7.
Sun Valley (2-7) at West Chester East (4-5), 7 p.m.
The Vikings are struggling, having lost three straight, but should get well against the Vanguards. Expect Jon Jon Roberts to move the ball at will against a Sun Valley defense that has given up 49, 36 and 56 points in its last three games, being outscored, 108-7.
Pick: West Chester East 42, Sun Valley 13.
Great Valley (6-3) at Kennett (3-6), 7 p.m.
Great Valley's Chris Temple should have a real big game here. The Patriots have more weapons then the Blue Demons.
Pick: Great Valley 31, Kennett 13.
Avon Grove (1-8) at Bishop Shanahan (4-4), 1 p.m.
Bishop Shanahan rolled up over 400 yards rushing against Octorara last week. Avon Grove has a good passing game with Tanner Peck and Beau Kush, and will test the Eagles secondary. Shanahan needs a win here to qualify for the Class AAA playoffs.
Pick: Bishop Shanahan 24, Avon Grove 21.