Red Raiders use late score to pull away from Eagles
Tonight, in the second ever night game at Jack Mancini field on the campus of Bishop Shanahan High School, two teams in dire need of wins to qualify for the District 1 AAAA or AAA playoffs faced off, in the Coatesville Red Raiders and Bishop Shanahan Eagles. It was the Coatesville Red Raiders who came away with a win in a hard fought 23-14 win. This game was far closer than the score indicated.
Football on any level, is a game of momentum and Coatesville’s first score tonight was a perfect example. Bishop Shanahan was driving down the field rather easily. While quarterback Nick Skulski was fighting for extra yardage inside the Coatesville 10 yard line, he was stripped of the ball and the fumble was returned 91 yards by Jelil Norman.
This kind of swing in any game is huge and loomed large, as it was the only scoring of the first half. After a backbreaking play like this, most teams could have packed it in and folded. This group of kids from Shanahan is unlike most teams, as they are the definition of grit. They are the only 3A team in the National Division of the Ches-Mont League.
Coatesville would expand their lead to 10-0 midway through the third frame, when Ibrahim Kallie booted a 32 yard field goal. On Shanahan’s next possession, they cashed in on their ability to move the football, when Nick Skulski hit Dan Neuhaus on a 55 yard wheel route, to cut the lead to 10-7.
The teams traded scores in the fourth quarter, when Jordan Young put Coatesville ahead 16-7 on a 13 yard run. Shanahan fired back on another Skulski to Neuhaus connection (25 yards) to put the Eagles within two at 16-14. Coatesville would need a late touchdown drive, and a conversion on fourth and two along the way, before Jordan Young scored from a yard out.
Shanahan mounted a late drive, riding the hot arm of Skulski. There was a dirty play by a Coatesville defensive back, who hit a defenseless Shanahan receiver, after the ball was clearly past him. The drive ended in a Skulski interception to seal the game.
After the game, Coatesville coach Matt Ortega stated, “Our defense carried us in the first half. They played their butts off all game. The second half our offense was able to answer all half, our line was clicking, and it wound up winning the game.” Quarterback Jordan Young said, “Tonight was all heart and effort. That fourth down call was the players’ call, the coaches wanted to kick a field goal, but the coaches trusted in us to put the game away.”
Shanahan coach Paul Meyers lamented the huge momentum swing early on that changed the momentum early, ”The strip and return for them was huge. There was a point swing right there. We also had a score called back due to a holding penalty. Those were HUGE momentum changers. Instead of putting the game away, it would have been different.”
Statistically Nick Skulski threw for 297 yards and two scores. Dan Neuhaus had 162 yards receiving and two scores (8 catches) for the home team. Jordan Young ran for 50 yards and threw for 86. His brother Aaron ran for 88 yards and had 108 total yards for the visitors.
Bishop Shanahan (4-5 overall, 2-3 league) travels to Avon Grove (4-5 overall, 1-4 league). The Eagles need a win to have a shot at the AAA playoffs. Coatesville (6-3 overall, 3-3 league) plays West Chester Rustin in their crossover game, in which the winner likely goes to the playoffs.
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