4th Down Staff:
WHO: Coatesville (1-0) at Cumberland Valley (0-0)
WHERE: Harry Chapman Memorial Stadium, Friday, 7 p.m.
ABOUT THE RED RAIDERS: Sophomore quarterback Ricky Ortega told The Patriot-News recently that Coatesville’s upcoming battle along the Carlisle Pike was the “biggest game of the year.” Ortega might be right, if you’re thinking about attitude for the remainder of the season. Ortega has just ripped week zero foe Simon Gratz for five touchdowns in a 34-13 win. You guess it, Ortega, a sophomore and son of head coach Matt Ortega, engineers the up-tempo Raiders. The offense features a bevy of fast receivers like Rutgers pledge Avery Young and Dapree Bryant. RB Aaron Young also operates behind a seasoned offensive line. There is plenty to like for the No. 4-ranked team in Class 6A. The key will be eliminating all mental errors and throwing a wrench in CV’s punishing run game. That didn’t happen a season ago.
ABOUT THE EAGLES: It’s Cumberland Valley, so we have learned to count on a few strong elements. For starters, the Eagles are notorious for running its love it or hate it Wing-T. No PIAA program is more efficient with the scheme at the point of attack. Top lineman Jacob Fetterolf and his supporting cast are so good at winning first down and setting up manageable down-and-distance. CV’s leverage is a big reason why the franchise has produced more than 3,000 rushing yards for five years running. That O-Line will give RB Jake Palmer and QB Jared Plessinger some chances to find open lanes or the open man. Defensively, the talented Eagles line up will be tested by the go fast representative from District 1. LB Christian Arrington, DL Austin Kupko, and hybrid Charlie Katshir, the Penn State recruit, need big games.
KEY STAT: 249 - Combined rushing yards by Jake Palmer and Josiah Quigley on 46 attempts in Cumberland Valley’s 41-21 victory over Coatesville in 2016. Palmer chewed up 7.1 yards for every one of his 20 carries against the Red Raiders.
THE PICK: You just know Coatesville wants to collect this feature after last year’s shocking result. Nothing would be sweeter than busing home with a W. But the Eagles will have success on offense, too. It might come down to who better protects the ball with the game in the balance. And Cumberland Valley always seems to be on the right side of that equation.