Downingtown West’s first defensive series vs. Haverford High in the District 1 Class 6A semifinals last Friday ended when Alex Rosano batted away a third-down pass.
The Whippets’ first offensive series began when Rosano caught a crossing toss from Will Howard for 28 yards, setting in fast motion a drive that result in a touchdown.
Rosano sometimes gets overshadowed on a star-powered team with a quarterback going to Kansas State, a two-way lineman going to Georgia Southern, and a running back who has set the football-crazy town record for touchdowns in a season.
But Rosano, a 5-foot-10, 170-pound senior, has made no shortage of contributions to the cause on both sides of the football.
“He’s a great defender, and he’s a great playmaker on offense,” Howard, the Kansas State recruit, said. “I would kind of call him our Swiss Army Knife on offense. He blocks. He runs. He catches passes. He kind of does whatever he’s needed to do.”
Howard has passed for 26 touchdowns for Downingtown West (12-1), which has set a school record for victories in a season in advance of Friday night’s showdown with old rival Coatesville (9-2) in the District 1 Class 6A title game in Kottmeyer Stadium.
Senior Sean Pelkisson, the Georgia Southern recruit, has been an impact player as a two-way end and senior Tyriq Lewis has scored 34 touchdowns for the top-seeded Whippets. Add in senior two-way standout Max Hale, dynamic junior playmaker Julian Williams, emerging sophomore Will Mahmud and the big guys along the team’s powerful offensive line, and it’s easy to overlook Rosano.
“He kind of gets under-recognized,” Downingtown West coach Mike Milano said of his versatile senior.
Not that Rosano takes offense.
"That doesn’t bother me at all,” Rosano said. “As long as we win football games, that’s all that matters.”
For Rosano and the rest of the Whippets, the rematch with Coatesville probably represents the most highly anticipated game of their careers. They will be home before what’s expected to be a capacity-plus crowd, with a chance to knock off the two-time defending District 1 champion and earn their 13th victory for the first time in program history.
“To be able to play Coatesville in the district final at home, it’s kind of unbelievable,” Rosano said. “They’ve kind of had our number the last few years. We’re going to try to flip the script.”
Rosano has missed a couple of games with minor injuries this season but has made a major impact on the stat sheets. He’s rushed 28 times for 288 yards (10.2-yard average) and caught 30 passes for 599 yards (19.9-yard average).
On defense, Rosano has made 29 tackles and registered two interceptions, bringing his career total of picks to seven.
“He plays defense, great coverage in the secondary, catches the ball, runs great routes,” Milano said.
In the 49-42 win over Haverford, Rosano caught five passes for 60 yards. He snared an 11-yard pass from Howard for a key third-down conversion in the fourth quarter, helping the Whippets blunt the Fords’ rally.
“I’ve played more defense than offense, but I prefer offense this year because of Will Howard,” Rosano said. “That dude will get you the ball.”
Rosano, who also plays basketball for Downingtown West, hasn’t made a college choice. He’s leaning toward playing football at the NCAA Division II or III level.
Rosano and many other seniors have been playing football together for many years, from flag in grammar school to tackle in middle school to their high school days.
He said they’ve never played a game with as much significance as Friday night’s showdown.
“It’s the kind of game you dream about playing as a kid,” Rosano said. “It’s going to be electrifying.”