DOWNINGTOWN >> It’s hard to call the playoffs a trap game, but if anything, Downingtown West will handle it on Friday.
After a thrilling Week 10 victory over fellow city rival Downingtown East, and a potential rivalry in Week 2 of the playoffs, the No. 4 Whippets must find a way to handle business with No. 1. 13 Conestoga.
There’s nothing flashy about it, but West beat the Trail Blazers 35-13 at Kortmeyer Stadium in the opening round of the Division 1-6A playoffs.
The win kicked off a second-round rematch with the East, marking the first playoff meeting between the two Downingtown schools in their 20th season since the split.
“We talk every week about how hard it is,” West coach Mike Milan said. “You don’t have a lot of time to feel good. We have to go back to work.”
To inject energy into his team, Milan started West’s (9-1) offense on the first kick-off. It worked flawlessly, with Quinn Hynekel completing all three of his passes for 56 yards and John Mooreville capping a 62-yard drive with a 4-yard touchdown.
Conestoga (6-5) struggled in the first half, but on West’s third possession, Jake Cusella countered for 14 yards.
The Trail Blazers joined the board when Pete Costigan found Brody Eaton for an 18-yard TD reception, cutting the Whippets’ lead to seven going into the break.
“We had an interesting week without (Dean) Hangi and a couple of kids getting sick and came out a little bit in our own way in the first half,” Milan said. “Praise (Connestoga). Matt (Diamond) did a great job, they beat us in the first 24 minutes.”
Whippets returned to a quick offense to start the third quarter and moved right again to set up a one-yard TD run by Mulville. The senior running back led the Whippets with 77 yards rushing and had his third TD on their next drive.
West put the game almost out of reach in the first game of the fourth quarter when Carmelin Alex broke free on a 14-yard TD run. With Hangey disqualified from the playoffs due to a move from Malvern Prep, others like Alex (6 carries, 36 yards) will be asked to step up.
“It’s an opportunity for everyone,” Alex said. “It feels good to win. We work hard day and night.”
‘Stoga got his second TD on a 17-yard pass from Costigan to Jeremy Friend. Jon Quici led the Trail Blazers with 57 yards on the ground.
“The message to the players is to keep their heads up,” Conestoga coach Matt Diamond said. “I’m very proud of them. This senior class has led us to consecutive regional playoff qualifications, something that hasn’t been done in years. They set a great bar for how it’s done.”
‘Storga’s two straight playoff appearances were in 2008 and 2009, when the Blazers were beaten by West on both occasions.
The Whippets now turn their attention to the East, which they beat 31-28 in the regular-season finale. This time there will be no Haney, who scored the winning TD in the final five minutes.
“It’s always tough to get people to play twice,” Milan said. “There’s some really good football and the playoffs in Division 1 are a tough game. Week after week, it doesn’t get any easier.”
Downingtown West 35, Conestoga 13
Conestoga 0 7 0 6-13
Downingtown West 7 7 14 7 – 35
the first season
DW- Mooreville 4 runs (Mehan kick)
DW-Kuchera 14 runs (Mehan kick)
C-Eaton passes 18 from P. Costigan (white kick)
the third quater
DW- Mooreville 1 run (Mehan kick)
DW- Mulville 3 runs (Mehan kick)
DW- Alex 14 runs (Mehan kick)
C- Friend 17 pass from P. Costigan (kick failed)
Total number of teams
C Deutsche Welle
first drop of 10 19
Yard Chong 33-145 36-162
Code matches 44,127
Total yards 189,289
Game 4-11-0 10-19-0
conceded 1-0 0-0
Point average 3-32 2-42.5
Penalty code 4-40 3-40
Sprint: Downingtown West – Marville 19-77, 3 touchdowns; Alex 6-36, TD; Hayford 5-36; Kuchera 3-19, TD; Henicles 4-8; Deng En 2-(-4); Garrity 1-(-2). Conestoga – Quiche 12-57; Newhall 8-34; Kent 1-22; Cook 3-17; P. Costigan 9-15
Passing: Downingtown West – Henicle 10-19, 127 yards. Conestoga – P. Costigan 4-11, 44 yards, 2 TDs
Catch: Downingtown West – Kuchera 4-41; Hayford 1-33; Barry 2-26; Campbell 1-19; Alex 1-9; Malville 1-5. Conestoga — Eaton 2-22, TD; Friends 1-17, TD; Newhall 1-5.