WEST CHESTER- The West Chester Henderson football team was 20 seconds away from taking down the number one ranked Class AAAA team in the state in undefeated Coatesville. Henderson had the ball at the Coatesville 20 yard-line when quarterback Matt Dinacci attempted to hit Tre Green with a screen pass. In jumped Coatesville linebacker Steven Pawling, who leaped to pluck the football out of the air, and raced 64 yards untouched to the end zone to seal Friday's 21-10 Ches-Mont League National Division escape at J. Oscar Dicks Stadium."I saw the ball up in the air and things were pretty hairy at that point, so I knew I had to go and get the football and then it was off to the end zone,' Pawling said. "Henderson is a great team and they were very tough, but we played great defense in the second half and got the win."We are everybody's big game. It is like the Super Bowl for these teams when we play them.'
It was Super Bowl intensity all night as the game Warriors (2-2 Ches-Mont National, 4-4 overall) fought the favored Red Raiders (4-0, 8-0) tooth and nail the entire night. Henderson's defense stiffened after the Coatesville scored the first 14 points of the game.
Both of Coatesville scores came on short runs by sophomore quarterback Jordan Young. Young's runs two and one yards were set up by the superlative running of Daquan Worley, who totaled 166 yards on 26 carries."I don't mind carrying the load for us,' Worley said. "Coach (Matt) Ortega has a lot of faith in me, so I like to carry the ball a lot. People don't realize we are all brothers on this team and tonight was no different. My offensive line did a great job for me again tonight. We had to give 120 percent tonight.'
Henderson went on a seven-minute, forty-one second drive that resulted in Garrett Girafalco going in for the three to make it 14-7 just before halftime. The Henderson drive covered 65 yards with the big play being a 21-yard reception by Connor Logan from DiNacci to the Coatesville 18. A penalty, one of 11 for the Red Raiders, put the ball at the 10 to set up the score.
"You know I expected a real tough game from Henderson,' Ortega said. "They are always tough because they control the clock and they play good defense and they did both tonight.'
Two big Coatesville fumbles set up the Warriors in the second half. The first went uncahsed in when Steve Thompson's 35-yard field goal attempt hit the crossbar.
Shortly thereafter, Young at his own 20, which was recovered by Brad Patton, When the drive stalled, Thompson drilled a field goal from 22 yards with 5:37 to play in the game.
After Coatesvile drove the football to the Henderson 35, Ryan Wildauer made a big play on a fourth-and-three play, stopping Worley short of the first down with just over three minutes to play.
Henderson used the run to get down to the Coatesville 20 and upset fever was raging through the home crowd. Coatesville blitzed Tyler Burke up the middle repeatedly to put Henderson in a 3rd-and-15, when Pawling saved the day and kept the record unblemished and on track for Ortega's first Ches-Mont National title."We challenged the kids to play with character this week,' Henderson head coach Steve Mitten said. "And they did that and we played great defense. We needed to get a little more offense. And credit Coatesville. They have a great defense, are well coached and are very, very talented.'NOTE: Before the game both teams met at midfield and exchanged handshakes and hugs as the West Chester school administration and the football team showed their support for Coatesville in the wake of the texting scandal that has shaken the community. Coatesville team chaplain Paul Chaya spoke to both squads and those in attendance, and then led both teams in prayer as a sign of unity and support.
Coatesville 21, West Chester Henderson 10
Coatesville 7 7 0 7-21
W.C. Henderson 0 7 0 3-10Scoring
C-Young 2 run (O'Deens kick)
C-Young 1 run (O'Deens kick)
H-Girafalco 3 run (Thompson kick)
H-Thompson 22 FG
C-Pawling 64 interception return (O'Deens kick)
First downs 11 11
Yards rushing 194 100
Yards passing 83 28
Total yards 277 128
Passing 10-15-0 2-9-2
Fumbles-lost 2-2 0-0
Punts.avg 2-34.5 3-29.5
Penalties-yds 11-71 2-10
Rushing: Coat: Worley 26-166; Young 5-14 2TDs; Flamer 4-10; Stocker 1-4. Hend: Girafalco 22-51; Green 1-12; Dinacci 4-18; Richard 5-16; Armstrong 2-3.
Passing: Coat: Young 10-15-0 83 yards. Hend: Dinacci 2-9-2 28 yards.
Receiving: Coat: Stocker 3-28; Hudson 3-10; Burke 1-12; Coleman 1-27; Clark 2-6. Hend: Logan 1-21; Green 1-7.
Sacks: Coat: None. Hend: None.
Interceptions: Coat: Soutcott, Pawling. Hend: None.