DOWNINGTOWN -- Downingtown East's Kevin Meakim had a simple explanation for the Cougars' third quarter.
On April Fool's Day, Meakim wasn't pulling any pranks on how his team performed after halftime.
"We came out and we wanted it more,' Meakim said. "We had more energy and came to play. All of our games have been decided by a goal. We wanted to get on a team fast. It was nice to get a cushion for once.'
Meakim and the Cougars did not have to worry about that one-goal decision in this one. Downingtown East delivered with nine unanswered goals, six of which came in the third quarter, as the Cougars won their Ches-Mont opener with a convincing 13-9 win over Great Valley at DiSerafino Stadium on Tuesday night.
Meakim and Nathan Wingate each led Downingtown East (1-0, 3-1) with three goals. Wingate's first goal was the one that shifted all the momentum into the Cougars' favor heading into halftime.
The senior fired a blast past Braxton Borine to give East a 5-3 lead with three seconds left in the first half. That goal was all Wingate needed to rally his team.
"Once we got together in the locker room, we said this was a big Ches-Mont game and we got to show up for the third quarter and come out strong,' Wingate said. "That's really what we did. We showed them who we were and how we could play.'
Drew Rafferty stated the goal barrage to make it 6-3 moments after the break. Twelve seconds later, Riehl fired a shot past Borine to give the Cougars a comfortable 7-3 lead just 38 seconds into the third quarter.
"We wanted to put the foot on the pedal and play as hard as we could,' said East coach Todd Cliggett. "It was a great effort and attitude right off the first whistle.'
Mike Risser scored both his goals in a 38 second span to give the Cougars a 9-3 lead early in the third. Wingate followed with a one timer to make it 10-3 at the 4:07 mark. That goal sent the East student section into frenzy on one of the mildest nights of the season.
"(Nate's) a very good player and you can always depend on him,' Cliggett said. "He's a team leader, works hard, comes to play every game and finds the back of the net.'
Jack Waite finally stopped the bleeding for Great Valley (1-1, 4-1) with his first goal of the night late in the third quarter to cut East's lead to 11-4. His goal ended a scoring drought which lasted 18:07 for the Patriots. Their goal prior to Waite's was a Greg Merrill blast with 7:19 left in the second quarter to give Great Valley a 3-2 lead. East scored nine unanswered from that point.
"We came out flat and (East) came storming out,' said Great Valley head coach Tony Verna. "They did a real nice job taking the momentum and running with it. That's signs of a good team.'
With East cruising in the fourth quarter, Great Valley refused to roll over. Max Kalick scored to make it 12-6 with 9:32 left. Wingate sealed the victory with his final goal two minutes later to give the Cougars a seven goal lead, which was insurmountable for the Patriots at that point.
Great Valley did manage to score the final three goals before the final buzzer sounded.
"This team doesn't quit,' Verna said. "We're like the Flyers that way by being resilient. "We have a lot of faith that we're never out of it. Without that third it's a different ballgame, but I told the guys we have to play a full 48 minutes.'
Merrill led Great Valley with three goals. He continues to pace the Ches-Mont with 18 for the season.
Waite and Kalick each had two goals for the Patriots.
Wingate also had an assist to go with his three goals. Risser and Riehl each finished with two goals for East.
Downingtown East will not be celebrating this statement win for long. The Cougars travel to Bishop Shanahan Thursday in another game between co-champions of the league from a season ago.
"It's one of the biggest games of the season for us,' Wingate said. "Emotions run high and the play gets real intense. They beat us last year and are contenders for the Ches-Mont.'
"We're a force to be reckoned with,' Meakim said. "Let's hope we bring our game tonight into Thursday.'
Downingtown East 13, Great Valley 9
Great Valley 2 1 1 5—9
Downingtown East 2 3 6 2—13
Great Valley goals: Merrill 3, Waite 2, Kalick 2, Fuydal, Joseph.
Downingtown East goals: Meakim 3, Wingate 3, Risser 2, Riehl 2, Mastrog, Rafferty, Little.
Goalie saves: Borine (GV) 8; Wilson (DE) 6, Marx (DE) 4.