After a turbulent season, the D-West football team is looking to return to the district playoffs

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Downingtown West’s offensive line is anchored by two big tackles, Ryan Howard (left) and Cooper Young (right). (Nate Heckenberger – For MediaNews Group)

DOWNINGTOWN >> If there’s a high school football team eager to put the last year behind them and turn the page to 2022, it’s Downingtown West.
From tragedy off the court to struggles on the court, the Whippets endured an unusually poor year, finishing 5-5 and missing the District 1 playoffs.
“Last year was tough for a number of reasons,” West coach Mike Milano said. “We lost two heartbreaking games to our rivals (Coatesville and Downingtown East). The game was stacked against us last year.
Milano will bring in a new quarterback, Quinn Henicle, who was also on the D-West baseball team. Henicle takes over for the late Evan Wickersham, and the 6-foot-1, 180-pound junior is thrilled to take charge of the attacking keys.

Downingtown West’s Jake Kucera looks to be one of the biggest threats as a point guard for the Whippets. (Nate Heckenberger – For MediaNews Group)

“The team looks good this year. I’m excited to take over and see what the team can do,” said Henicle. “We seem to have a lot of fluidity together, it’s going well, it’s working well. I feel like I memorized the offense pretty well.
“Quinn is fine,” Milano added. “He has a lot of physical talent, very good arm strength. He understands things very well and I know he is delighted to start and we are delighted to see him play.
Returning running back John Mulville praised his QB.
“He has a great position, throws the ball very well.” said Mulville. “He understands the pocket, he should be good. I can’t wait to see how he plays. »

Downingtown West’s John Mulville returns to the backfield where he should receive plenty of touches. (Nate Heckenberger – For MediaNews Group)

The senior is one of the best running backs in the area, with 751 yards and 11 touchdowns last year. It can also be a factor in the passing game.
“I’m excited to do what I can to help our team win as much as possible,” Mulville said. “As a senior, I want to have the ball in my hands to help us win.”
The race game should go well with Mulville and the return of Jake Kucera, injured in the second game of the season last year. Harrison Hayford and Kam Alex will fill the H position. Ryan Campbell is a tight-end returning starter.

Downingtown West’s Jake Kucera will start a safe third season, having missed most of his second season through injury. (Nate Heckenberger – For MediaNews Group)

They’ll operate behind a huge offensive line anchored by hard tackles Cooper Young (6-5, 300), a West Virginia commitment, and Ryan Howard (6-7, 310), along with guard Jake Kvech.
Newcomer Dean Hangey should be an attractive receiving option for Henicle along with Kucera and Jordan Barry.
The defense will be big up front with Young and Howard. Hayford highlights the linebacker group.
The secondary should be fast with Kucera and Carter Grear.
“We’re pumped,” Milano said. “We think we will be tough to beat.”
The Whippets will begin their season with a trip to the Jersey Shore to take on Highland Regional in Game 1. They travel to the Perkiomen Valley before opening at Kottmeyer Stadium against Avon Grove on September 9.
“The non-league calendar is going to be brutal,” said Milano. “Highland Regional is going to be good. We face Perkiomen Valley in Game 2 and they are still tough. Neshaminy is going to be big and physical. Our Chester County program won’t be a cakewalk either.”

Downingtown West’s great tackle duo, Ryan Howard (left) and Cooper Young (right). (Nate Heckenberger – For MediaNews Group)

Milano is entering his 30th season as manager and his 20th at West and is always ready to be on the sidelines.
“I love it,” Milano said. “I get asked all the time how long am I going to do this. I’m getting old, but I like it. I love football in high school. I think it’s the best game on earth. Absolutely I’m jus. I can’t wait for it to start. »

Downtown West Schedule
Friday, August 26 – vs. Highland Regional (NJ) in Ocean City, NJ, 4 p.m.
Friday, September 2 – at Perkiomen Valley, 7 p.m.
Friday, September 9 – vs. Neshaminy, 7 p.m.
Friday, Sept. 16 – vs. Avon Grove, 7 p.m.
Friday, September 23 – at West Chester Henderson, 7 p.m.
Friday, Sept. 30 – vs. West Chester East, 7 p.m.
Friday, October 7 — at Coatesville, 7 p.m.
Friday, October 14 – vs. Chester, 7 p.m.
Friday, October 21 — at Bishop Shanahan, 7 p.m.
Friday, October 28 – at Downingtown East, 7 p.m.

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