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PIAA District 1 playoff primer: Pennsbury's defense will be tested by Coatesville's quick-strike offense

Pennsbury's needs to slow a Coatesville offense averaging 44.9 points per game in a District 1 semifinal.

Two-way back Nasan Robbins (2) and Pennsbury square off against high-powered Coatesville in a District 1 Class 6A semifinal on Friday night.
Two-way back Nasan Robbins (2) and Pennsbury square off against high-powered Coatesville in a District 1 Class 6A semifinal on Friday night.Read moreWILLIAM THOMAS CAIN

Pennsbury is aiming to take a big step toward winning its second PIAA District 1 football championship in the last four seasons and second overall.

Coatesville is seeking to move closer to its first district crown since 2012, third overall, and gain payback for the 21-14 loss it was dealt by Pennsbury in the 2014 final.

The No. 8-seeded Falcons visit the No. 4 Red Raiders in a District 1 Class 6A semifinal at 7 p.m. Friday. The winner takes on the survivor of No. 7 Pennridge vs. No. 3 Garnet Valley for top honors.

Pennsbury's defense needs to turn in its best performance of the season to knock off Coatesville. The potent and fast Red Raiders average 44.9 points per game. They have scored 38 or more points in each of their last 10 outings.

Coatesville sophomore Ricky Ortega, a second-year starter, has converted 148 of 220 passes for an area-high 2,471 yards and 32 touchdowns.

Ortega spreads the ball among halfback Aaron Young and receivers Dapree Bryant, Avery Young, Mekhi Alexander, and Kahtero Summers. Bryant, a sophomore, has 45 receptions for 1,043 yards and 16 touchdowns.

Aaron Young, a 5-foot-9, 190-pound junior who has several Division I scholarship offers, has carried 136 times for 1,532 yards and 31 scores.

In a 61-42 quarterfinal win over Ches-Mont League National Division rival Downingtown East, Ortega hit on 15 of 25 throws for 224 yards and four TDs. He also rushed for 110 yards and a score.

The charge on defense for Pennsbury is spearheaded by ends Mike Gabora and Matt Lewis, middle guard Josh Atanruse, and rotating linemen Matt Rosso (6-6, 270) and Jared Troyano.

The linebacking corps is made up of Diante Wiggins, Ryan Knauth, James Hose, and Andrew Basalyga; Nasan Robbins and Dazjae Rogers are the cornerbacks; and Gary Minnes plays free safety.

Doubling as running backs, Robbins and Basalyga combined for 293 yards and four scores in a 36-17 quarterfinal triumph over Suburban One League National Conference rival Neshaminy.

The Falcons' Zach DeMarchis has thrown for 1,616 yards and 17 TDs and rushed for 1,389 yards and the same number of scores.

The Red Raiders defense is anchored by tackle Alex Raimondo, ends Tione Holmes and Jimmy Limper, outside linebacker Johnny Clifford, and cornerback Avery Young.

Pick Six


No. 10-ranked Pennsbury (10-2) at No. 3 Coatesville (11-1), 7 p.m. The Red Raiders' quickness, especially at wide receiver, proves too much for the slower Falcons. Pick: Coatesville, 46-20.

No. 11 Pennridge (10-2) at No. 6 Garnet Valley (11-1), 7 p.m. The Jaguars have a strong one-two rushing punch in Danny Guy and Matt Lassik. Pick: Garnet Valley, 28-7.

No. 21 Marple Newtown (8-4) at No. 12 Unionville (11-1), 7 p.m. QB Anthony Paoletti and the Tigers stun the Indians in scenic Kennett Square. Pick: Marple Newtown, 27-21, in overtime

Conwell-Egan (5-6) vs. Lansdale Catholic (5-6), at Harry S Truman, 7 p.m. Tailback Patrick Garwo and the Eagles avenge a 31-21 loss to the Crusaders. Pick: Conwell-Egan, 23-17.

Cardinal O'Hara (7-3) vs. No. 4 Imhotep Charter (9-1), at Northwest Philly Super Site, 6 p.m. The talent-filled Panthers break open a close game in the third quarter. Pick: Imhotep, 38-14.


No. 1 St. Joseph's Prep (10-0) at No. 19 Northeast (7-2), 6 p.m. The run-happy Vikings find the going tough against end Rayshad Wallace (12 sacks) and company. Pick: St. Joe's Prep, 48-12.