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Football: Coatesville comes back in second half to oust CB West

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At halftime, Central Bucks West had to like where it was in its District One Class 6A quarterfinal with visiting Coatesville.

The Bucks scored on three of their first four possessions and held a 17-13 lead, thanks to senior quarterback Jack Neri’s 1-yard touchdown run with 53 seconds left in the first half Nov. 8 at War Memorial Field in Doylestown.

With 124 yards rushing on 18 carries before the break, classmate Jack Fallon proved a steady force on offense. Defensively, No. 2 seed CB West stopped the Red Raiders with a fumble recovery on their first possession and by forcing a punt on their final drive before the teams retreated to the locker room.

Coming back from the intermission however, Coatesville proved the reason why it is the two-time defending D1-6A champ, scoring 28 unanswered points to advance to a semifinal date with Garnet Valley and end the Bucks’ 2019 hopes at 10-2.

But it was a season to remember for CB West. The team posted a historic campaign this year with plenty of highlights, not the least of which was the Bucks’ first win over North Penn since 2000.

“I’m immensely proud of them,” said CB West second-year head coach Rob Rowan. “We were down to dressing just 33 guys for the past four weeks.

“They reestablished the standard of what’s acceptable here moving forward. To go 10-2 and be able to put a run together like that. They reestablished the standard of this program and for that, they’ll forever be remembered.”

The seniors played a big part in the win over the Knights, with Fallon rushing for 116 yards on 24 carries. He also caught two passes for 46 yards including a 43-yard catch-and-run on third-and-11 late in the fourth quarter to set up the game-winning score. His 9-yard TD run two plays later and Bailey Moyer’s extra point were the difference and Fallon helped seal the win with an interception on North Penn’s final possession.

Neri passed for 100 yards in the battle in a 7-of-15 performance including a 23-yard first-quarter TD strike to classmate Nick Olear.

While CB West suffered its only loss in the regular season when the Bucks fell 28-27 in double overtime in week nine to Suburban One Continental League rival Souderton, West clinched its first league trophy since 2004 seven days later when it toppled SOL National champion Abington, 45-28.

With the sides deadlocked at 10-10 at the half, the Bucks broke the game open with 21 unanswered points in the third quarter and two more TDs in the final frame.

Fast forward to Nov. 2 in the opening round of districts, where CB West opened postseason play vs. 15th-seeded Ridley. In a duel that was delayed a day due to a power outage, senior Josh Jackson torched the Green Raiders’ defense for 131 yards and three touchdowns on just 11 carries in an eventual 42-7 triumph.

In the second round of districts, facing No. 7 seed Coatesville (9-2), the Bucks’ defense bent in the second half, allowing the Red Raiders to assemble a 10-play, 65-yard touchdown drive, capped by senior quarterback Ricky Ortega’s 14-yard scoring dash up the middle.

Ortega is headed to Villanova next fall and classmate Dapree Bryant is tagging along. Bryant proved part of the reason why he is wanted by the Wildcats on Coatesville’s next possession, capping a 90-yard scoring drive with a 69-yard sprint to paydirt that put the visitors on top, 27-17.

“They didn’t really make that many adjustments, defensively,” added Rowan. “We just didn’t execute well in the second half. A lot of penetration inside and on the back side of plays, some things were getting chased down from behind.”

“Defensively, we just gave up too many third downs.”

After stopping West on its first possession of the fourth quarter with an interception by Abdul-Sabur Stewart, Ortega needed just one play to extend the Raiders’ lead, tossing an 81-yard scoring strike down the left sideline to senior Artie Burgess.

While the Bucks drove the ball all the way down to Coatesville’s 13-yard line on a pair of passes caught by Fallon (25 yards, 11) and another grabbed by Olear (11), on third-and-13, Bryant picked off an ill-advised aerial by Neri at the 1-yard line. On third-and-6 from the CB West 12, Bryant raced 57 yards on a jet sweep to set up the Raiders’ final score. Senior TE John Ruttman capped off the drive with a 22-yard TD run, putting the visitors up 41-17 with 2:01 showing on the game clock.

CB West finished its season with a 65-yard scoring drive, highlighted by a 40-yard pass to Olear, a 13-yard pass to Fallon and a 2-yard TD scamper by Neri, his second scoring run of the night.

On their first possession of the game, the Bucks went up 7-0 on Jackson’s 3-yard TD run that capped off a 13-play, 57-yard scoring drive. West took the lead again in the second quarter on Moyer’s 26-yard field goal on a drive that saw a 6-yard TD run by Fallon negated by an illegal motion penalty called on the offense.

The Bucks’ leading ground-gainer in 2019, Fallon finished the season with nearly 1,800 yards rushing. Neri was next with 484. He also threw for 838 yards and five touchdowns in his final campaign.

In addition to winning the SOL Continental crown, West captured its first Central Bucks Cup since 2013 when it delivered victories over sister schools CB South (42-28) and CB East (45-10).

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