PHS Football

Pennsbury running back JayVon McNeill (24) carries the ball against Neshaminy. (John Gleeson/BucksLocalNews.com)

DOWNINGTOWN >> The 16th-seeded Pennsbury High School football came out and punched Downingtown West in the head with four touchdowns in the first half Friday night in the opening round of the PIAA District 1 Class 6A playoffs.

The top-seeded Whippets (10-1) barely even blinked.

On a night in which it hardly employed the considerable passing skills of Kansas State University-bound quarterback Will Howard, Downingtown West ending up blitzing Pennsbury by the score of 63-35.

With the victory, Downingtown West advanced to play a home game next week against North Penn, which advanced with a lopsided win over Central Bucks South.

As for Pennsbury, it finished up 6-5 in a year in which it rallied to win six of its last seven regular season games following a tough 0-3 start.

It will require some research to determine if the 63 points it gave up is the most in the history of Pennsbury football, but it might very well be for a program that has long prided itself on tough defense.

The biggest star of the high-powered Downingtown West offensive show was Tariq Lewis, who rushed for over 200 yards and scored five touchdowns on runs of 10, 34, 40, 27 and 3 yards.

As for Howard (6-5, 215), he attempted just seven passes, but two of them went for touchdowns against a Falcon defense that was totally out of gas and answers after the first quarter.

Although Downingtown West's win was entirely expected, what the home team was not anticipating was how much trouble it would have stopping the Pennsbury running game. Operating behind its big and physical offensive line, Pennsbury played an outstanding first half of offensive football by running over the Whippets for 277 rushing yards and at one point taking a 21-7 lead.

In that first half, Brad Mickles ran for touchdowns of 44 and 3 yards, and had 104 yards on 12 carries. JayVon McNeil also had a monster first two quarters with 116 yards on 12 carries while also scoring on a 32-yard burst up the middle for the game's first touchdowns.

For good measure, Christian Bond also scored on a spectacular catch in the end zone on a 33-yard pass from junior quarterback CJ Kohler, who contributed with his feet as well with 57 rushing yards on six first-half carries.

Against just about anyone else Pennsbury would have been in great shape with 28 first-half points. Against Downingtown West all Pennsbury got was a tied game after 24 minutes.

Dowingtown's West first half included two TD runs by Lewis and an 8-yard sweep around right for a touchdown by Marcus Gainer.

The back breaker for the Falcons came right at the end of the second quarter when the Whippets were able to roar 60 yards down the field on just six plays and scored on an 18-yard pass from Howard to Julian Williams.

On this play Williams matched the catch Bond had made with a sensational leaping catch of his own in the back of the end zone to tie the score at the half and give even more momentum to the home team.

Sure enough, other than a 80-yard, 15-play drive capped by a 10-yard touchdown run by McNeil in the third quarter, the second half was all Dowingtown West with Lewis scoring three more touchdowns and Gainer running for his second.

Try as it might, Pennsbury's defense simply didn't have the speed to protect its flanks, whether it was on option plays with Howard pitching the ball or straight toss sweeps.

Pennsbury (6-5) 14 14 7 0 - 35

Downingtown West (10-1) 7 21 21 14 - 63

P-McNeil 32 run (Burgfechtel kick)

DW-Lewis 10 run (Mochulski kick)

P-Mickles 44 run (Burgfechtel kick)

P-Mickles 3 run (Burgfechtel kick)

DW-Lewis 34 run (Mochulski kick)

P-Bond 33 pass from Kohler (Burgfechtel kick)

DW-Gainer 8 run (Mochulski kick)

DW-Williams 16 pass from Howard (Mochulski kick)

DW-Mahmud 32 pass from Howard (Mochulski kick)

DW-Lewis 40 run (Mochulski kick)

P-McNeil 10 run (Burgfechtel kick)

DW-Lewis 27 run (Mochulski kick)

DW-Lewis 3 run (Mochulski kick)

DW-Gainer 7 run (Mochulski kick)

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