Football: Coatesville stopped at goal line in final minute

Sometimes the last yard is the hardest one to get. That lesson was a painful one for Coatesville football team in the District 1 Class AAAA championship game against Pennsbury at Souderton High School on Saturday.

Quarterback Jordan Young was stuffed as he attempted to go off the left side on fourth down from the one-yard line with under a minute left as the second-seeded Falcons hung on to capture the title with a 21-14 victory over the top-seeded Red Raiders. Coatesville marched 74 yards to get in position before falling frustratingly short.

“It hurts right now but these kids had a great season,’ Coatesville head coach Matt Ortega said. “We called the right play, we just did not execute it properly. But, hats off to them. Today they made more plays than we did and that is how it is in football some times.’

Jackie Schear — 21st Century Media

Pennsbury (13-1) moves on to the PIAA Eastern Final against St. Joseph’s Prep next weekend. The loss was Coatesville’s first after 13 straight wins.

Trailing, 21-14, Coatesville used the running of Jalen Hudson, who had 110 yards on 19 carries, to get the ball to the three-yard line. On second down with less than two minutes to play, Hudson was stopped for no gain. Young followed with a run to the one to set up a fourth-and-one with 45 seconds left.

Young took the snap and darted left, then tried to turn it back towards the goal line. But, it seemed like the entire Pennsbury defense was waiting and snuffed out Coatesville’s dream of a second district in three years. The Falcons celebrated their first district title since 2006.

“We accomplished a lot of things this year because we had great leaders in the field and in the classroom,’ Ortega said. “It just did not work out at the end, but I am real proud of these kids.’

Pennsbury stuck with its formula — running the football. They carried 53 times for 345 yards with their usual assortment of off-tackle, counter and belly runs. Rutgers recruit Charles Snorweah rushed 30 times for 198 yards, which gave him 1,067 yards in four playoff games. Snorweah got things going on the Falcons’ first offensive play, darting off the right side 75 yards for an early 7-0 lead.

Jackie Schear — 21st Century Media

“We wanted to get out early because we like to run the ball and control the clock,’ Snorweah said. “But, Coatesville has a real good defense. They came out physical and they closed the gaps and they gave us trouble. I am happy to get out of here with the win.’

The Pennsbury defense held the Coatesville passing attack to just 81 yards and sacked Young three times in the first half. Young was 7 of 14 on the day and never looked very comfortable in the pocket. The Falcons’ defense was led by Andy Lichtenstein, who had 10 tackles.

Following a Coatesville punt in the second quarter, Pennsbury took over at its 18 and marched 82 yards in 12 plays — all runs — and took a 14-0 lead after Rashaan Thompson capped the drive by scoring from the four.

Jackie Schear — 21st Century Media

“They really do not do anything fancy, they just ran harder than we saw anybody run this season,’ Coateville’s Javon Sampson said. “This senior class of ours accomplished a lot and the guys that are left have to go back to work and get busy in the weight room.’

Coatesville went on a march that was aided by a questionable sideline infraction penalty called on the Falcons after Andrew Pitt broke up a Young to Jay Stocker pass on a fourth-and-eight that resulted in a first down. With the second chance, the Red Raiders took advantage and scored Young scampered in from the nine to cut the deficit to 14-7 with 2:59 in the half.

Pennsbury went right back to the ground and advanced to the Red Raiders 10 before running out of time.

Jackie Schear — 21st Century Media

“That end of the first half was frustrating for us, but the kids came through when they had to,’ Pennsbury coach Galen Snyder said.

Pennsbury took the second-half kickoff and went back to churning up yards on the ground with Snorweah and Thompson (19-108). But, the Red Raiders stopped the Falcons on fourth down.

Coatesville drove 78 yards before Hudson shot through the middele for a, 18-yard TD run to tie the game at 14-14 and provided hope for the faithful on the chilly afternoon.

“We have a lot of heart on this team and we came back on a very good team,’ Young said. “This is the best group of guys I have ever been around and we fought hard today.’

But, the Pennsbury running game was the star of the day. The Falcons used a seven-play, 68-yard drive that ate up 6:30 on the clock to regain the lead. Snorweah and Thompson both converted third-down chances and Mike Alley turned a quarterback sneak on another third down, into a 15-yard touchdown run for a 21-14 advantage with 5:16 left.

“They do what they do and they have been running the ball like this with their tight splits since Galen has been here,’ Ortega said. “They don’t do anything fancy, but they have so much confidence in what they do and they do it well.’

Notes: Coatesville linebacker Stephen Pawling had a fantastic game with 16 tackles. … Coatesville kicker Ibrahim Kallie missed a 38-yard field goal in the first period.

Pennsbury 21, Coatesville 14

Pennsbury 7 7 0 7 — 21 Coatesville 0 7 7 0 — 14

First Quarter

Pennsbury — Snorweah 75 run (Leon kick)

Second Quarter

Pennsbury — Thompson 4 run (Leon kick)

Coatesville — Young 9 run (Kallie kick)

Third Quarter

Coatesville — Hudson 18 run (Kallie kick)

Fourth Quarter

Pennsbury — Alley 15 run (Leon kick)


First downs 21 18

Rushes-yards 56-345 42-184

Passing 2-5-0 7-14-0

Passing yards 10 81

Total yards 355 265

Punts 1-34.0 3-44.5

Fumbles-lost 2-1 0-0

Penalties-yards 2-10 3-20

Individual statistics

Rushing — Pennsbury: Snorweah 30-198 TD, Thompson 19-108 TD, Snyder 3-20, Alley 4-19 TD. Coatesville: Hudson 19-110 TD, Young 17-38 TD, Evans 6-36.

Passing — Pennsbury: Alley 2-5-0, 10 yards. Coatesville: Young 7-14-0, 81 yards.

Receiving — Pennsbury: Snorweah 2-10. Coatesville: Hudson 3-28, Stocker 1-24, Ealey 1-20, Clark 1-14, Coleman 1-(-5).

Sacks — Pennsbury: Rumph 2, James. Coatesville: Jordan.

Interceptions — None.

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