LONDON GROVE >> As Cary Angeline handed the game ball to Mike Matta, the Downingtown East head coach was quick to defer credit for his milestone win amidst the thunderous applause of the Cougars.
Matta thanked all the Downingtown East players that suited up over his 13 years leading the team, the main ingredient in the Cougars’ recipe for success during that time.
“As you guys know, I have absolutely nothing to do with these 100 wins,” Matta said to his team. “I have 18 losses, you guys have 100 wins. You earned every single one of them.”
Angeline and Saunders Healy earned this win for Matta as the pair connected for two touchdowns as Downingtown East defeated Avon Grove 38-0 in a Ches-Mont League National Division game Friday night, getting Matta his 100th career win as a head coach, all coming with the Cougars.
Matta improved his record to 100-18 with Downingtown East (1-0 league, 4-0 overall) as he became the eighth coach in Ches-Mont history to reach the milestone. Of the coaches to reach the 100-win mark, Matta’s winning percentage is the highest at .847.
“This is awesome for coach Matta,” said Angeline, who led East with three catches for 82 yards. “It just shows how great of a coach he is and how he’s been here since the program started. 100 wins is crazy. I’m happy to be a part of it, especially for a man who works so hard at his job and loves it so much.”
“Coach Matta puts in so much time for us,” said Healy. “For us to get him his 100th win, it was nice to pay him back for all that.”
Healy’s been cashing Matta’s checks with his efficient play under center, but raised his game to another level against Avon Grove’s secondary, finishing 10-for-13 for 148 yards with a career-high four touchdowns.
All four of Healy’s touchdown passes were his most-impressive throws of the night. The first was using a soft-touch on the throw to find Jake Hanford in the back corner of the end zone and give East a 10-0 lead with 11:16 left in the second quarter.
On the Cougars next possession, Healy threw a perfect pass to Angeline on a post pattern for a 28-yard score that put East up 17-0. On his final throw of the second quarter, Healy stood in the pocket and got drilled by an Avon Grove defender but hit Ethan Harris for a 13-yard touchdown to put East up 31-0 heading into the half.
Healy saved his best throw for last with a perfect strike on a fly pattern to Angeline at the left pylon that put the Cougars up 38-0 and sent the mercy rule into effect with 1:05 left in the third quarter.
“Saunders does good things with the ball,” Matta said. “The kid’s a competitor. He’s a grinder and wants to play well every week. As the stakes get higher, he’s going to continue to be more efficient.”
Healy also isn’t afraid to find Angeline if the play breaks down as the two have combined for four of Healy’s eight touchdowns on the season.
“I look around, nobody’s open,” Healy said. “Then I just look at Cary and put it in the best spot I can and he makes a play on it nine out of 10 times.
I stopped being amazed at what Cary can do in eighth grade, but now I’m just used to him making crazy catches.”
Downingtown East’s defense was dominant against the Red Devils (0-1 league, 2-2 overall), as the unit held an offense that averaged 333 yards per game to just 61 for the night.
Nate Jones, the Ches-Mont’s leading rusher with 506 yards heading into the game, was limited to just 16 carries on 22 yards (18 of which came on his first carry).
Shane Hogarth led the Cougars with two sacks and Matt Boorman had a 44-yard interception return for a touchdown to put East up 24-0 late in the second quarter. The dominant effort kept East unbeaten after four games.
“This was a much better Avon Grove team we played tonight,” Matta said. “It was a good win for us. We need to start games better and eliminate some penalties, but I’m happy with the win.”
As for his 100th career win, Matta wished it would have come 18 games sooner.
“It could be better,” Matta joked. “118 wins right now would be nice.”
Downingtown East 38, Avon Grove 0
Downingtown East 3 28 7 0 — 38 Avon Grove 0 0 0 0 — 0
First QuarterDE: Brennan 42 FGSecond Quarter
DE: Hanford 7 pass from Healy (Brennan kick)
DE: Angeline 28 pass from Healy (Brennan kick)
DE: Boorman 44 interception return (Brennan kick)
DE: Harris 13 pass from Healy (Brennan kick)
Third QuarterDE: Angeline 18 pass from Healy (Brennan kick)
team statistics DE AGFirst downs 13 5
Rushes-yards 39-149 31-24Passing 10-13-1 7-17-1
Passing yards 148 37Total yards 297 61
Punts 3-40.0 7-28.0Fumbles-lost 1-0 0-0
Penalties-yards 5-45 3-15Individual statistics
Rushing — Downingtown East: Kincade 16-63; Healy 7-34; T. Aivado 6-23; N. Aivado 5-19; Carpenter 2-8; Liaudiatis 1-6; Mullen 1-4; Hammond 1-(-6). Avon Grove: Jones 16-22; Francis 7-12; Wolford 1-6; Buchanan 1-3; McLaughlin 6-(-19).
Passing — Downingtown East: Roberts Healy 10-13-1, 148 yds., 4 TD; Lauletta 0-0-0, 0 yds. Avon Grove: McLaughlin 7-17-1, 37 yds.; Wolford 0-0-0, 0 yds.
Receiving — Downingtown East: Angeline 3-82, 2 TD; Harris 2-22, TD; Hanford 2-15, TD; Jennings 1-20; Kincade 1-5; Hammond 1-4. Avon Grove: Buchanan 2-18; Jones 2-(-4); Arhontakis 1-9; Lapham 1-9; Francis 1-5.
Sacks: Downingtown East: Hogarth 2, Angeline, Zanheiser. Avon Grove: None.
Interceptions — Downingtown East: Boorman. Avon Grove: D’Antonio.