This article can be found published on the Southern Chester County Weeklies‘ website.
Senior Ahkeema Evans started the game with a 90-yard kickoff return to put Coatesville up 7-0 just 12 seconds into the game and the Red Raiders (4-0) never looked back, piling on another 39 points in a 46-7 drubbing of the Red Devils (0-4).
“It was right there and was open,” said Coatesville head coach Matt Ortega. “He went untouched. It was perfect because we called a left return right there and we took advantage of it.”
Things didn’t get much better for Avon Grove in its first possession. On a fourth down, senior Logan Jirak tried to punt, but bobbled the ball and by the time he was able to attempt the kick, it was blocked, setting Coatesville up with good field position and an eventual 27-yard run touchdown from senior Jalen Hudson.
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Coatesville piled on the points in the second quarter, including a 32-yard reception from senior Keenan Coleman on a fourth-down play — the second touchdown to come on a fourth down for the Red Raiders in the game.
Despite putting 46 points up on the board, it wasn’t a perfect game for Coatesville. The Red Raiders were guilty of committing 15 penalties for a gruesome 110 yards.
“It was one of those things where I can’t put my finger on it,” Ortega said. “It’s not like we’re doing it in practice. I told the guys that was the one thing to take away from the game. We have to get better at that and try to address it on Monday.”
Fortunately for them, Avon Grove was unable to take advantage of the mistakes and stop the lethal Coatesville offense.
Leading the way for the Raiders were quarterback Jordan Young, who went 9-for-16 for 120 yards and two touchdowns in the first half, and running back Hudson, who carried the ball 11 times for 106 yards and two touchdowns.
After a lost fumble from Avon Grove at their own 18, Coatesville went to work and in just two plays, finished things off with a 2-yard run from Hudson, putting the visiting team up 40-0 just over a minute into the third.
At that point, Ortega gave his other players the chance to shine on the field, which junior Ronnel Knight took advantage of with three carries for 33 yards and a touchdown.
“Ronnie is a good player,” Ortega said. “He’s a backup outside linebacker for us and he was our second-team running back all season. We moved Ahkeema Evans to the No. 2 running back today and he made some good plays for us. We feel like we have three good backs in Ahkeema Evans, Jaden Hudson and Ronnel Knight.”
All told, the three running backs ran with the ball 17 times for 180 yards and three touchdowns.
However, the defensive side also chipped in, recovering two Avon Grove fumbles and an interception from senior Stevie Pugh.
“We have four corners out there that we’re very comfortable with,” Ortega said. “We have four safeties that we can play. It’s just a very good group. We can do some things and try to play man-to-man and load the box up and bring the pressure like we did and create those plays in the backfield.”
The defense was able to limit Avon Grove to just 176 yards, with 116 of that coming in the second half.
Though Coatesville came away with another high-scoring win, Ortega believes there’s still a lot for his team to work on, especially after how sloppy they were with penalties.
“We have to get better with the basics like block and tackle,” he said. “That’s what we stressed today. I feel like at times last week, we were a little sloppy with our tackling and I thought we really hammered it this week and got a little bit better today with it. The penalties are definitely something we have to try and really get ironed out here for next week.”