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Chester County Press

Behind dominant offense, Downingtown East defeats Avon Grove, 35-7

10/18/2022 07:06PM ● By Richard Gaw


Photo by Richard L. Gaw        Behind 329 total offensive yards, Downgintown East cruised to a 35-7 victory over Avon Grove on Oct. 16.

By Richard L. Gaw

Staff Writer

As the fourth quarter began in Downingtown East’s 35-7 defeat of Avon Grove last Friday evening, Red Devil Head Coach Joe Coffey was given a hopeful foreshadowing of the football program’s immediate future.

It was bright one, and dotted with freshmen: quarterback Jacob Ham, running back Jose Sabastro and running back Evan Olander. While they served as the silver lining in Avon Grove’s current playbook, there was still the immediate matter of the team’s inability to stop a marauding Cougar offense that racked up 329 yards on its way to a 7-1 overall record.

Coming off of a string of consecutive victories against Sun Valley, Academy Park and Bishop Shanahan, the Red Devils looked to improve their overall mark to 5-3, but their plans fell apart early and never recovered. On the opening kick-off, Avon Grove coughed up the ball on its 16-yard line, and on the second play from scrimmage, Cougar quarterback Jameson Jenkins hit Tanner DiLulio for an 11-yard TD strike with 11:32 left in the first quarter that gave Downingtown East a lead they never gave up.

On its second possession, the Cougars took the ball from near midfield to the AG 8-yard line on a 36-yard pass from Jenkins to Caden Walsh that set up an 8-yard scoring run by Bo Horvath with 9:39 left in the quarter. Downingtown East wrapped up its first quarter scoring on a 35-yard pass from Jenkins to Walsh with 3:02 left that gave the Cougars a 21-0 lead.

As the second quarter began, Avon Grove was again punished for a turnover, when with the ball at midfield, a costly fumble led to carries by Cougar running back Owen Lammy that set up a 1-yard keeper by quarterback Mason Ippolito with 10:25 left in the first half that staked Downingtown East to a 28-0 lead. The Cougars tacked on their final score of the evening when Lammy scored on a 9-yard run with 5:29 left in the first half.

Although any potential comeback was stymied by a running clock in the second half, Avon Grove’s lone shining moment came deep in the fourth quarter, when Coffey replaced several of his upperclassmen with reserves. Suddenly, an offense that had been held to just 31 overall yards in the first half came alive on the play of Ham, Sabastro and Olander. Combined, they engineered an 89-yard scoring drive that was set up by long runs by Sabastro and a 12-yard rush by Olander that moved the ball to the 1-yard line. With 2:25 left in the game, Sabastro took a hand-off from Ham and sprinted into the end zone.

Downingtown East’s win sets up consecutive crucial matches against 7-0 Coatesville on Oct. 21 and 6-1 Downingtown West on Oct. 28. Looking to rebound from the loss, Avon Grove will travel to Interboro on Oct. 21 and will finish the regular season with an Oct. 28 game at Coatesville.

To contact Staff Writer Richard L. Gaw, email [email protected].