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  • Writer's pictureAl Thompson


The Downingtown West Whippets are ranked No. 3 on the Footballstories Top 20 after Week 4 in large part because its offensive line. From left: Drew Shelton (So), Beau Bryan (Sr.), Matt Micale (Jr), Tj Wickersham (Sr), Andrew Kaczmarski (Sr). In back is quarterback Will Howard. Photo by Al Thompson.

DOWNINGTOWN: Downingtown West standout quarterback Will Howard was having an outstanding junior year season in 2018. His team was 6-0 going into the Whippets Ches-Mont rivalry game against Coatesville.

Howard suffered a hand injury during the game and was out for rest of the the season.

Downingtown West lost to the Red Raiders 42-14.

Head coach Mike Milano did an outstanding job of coaching up his team to win the rest of their regular season games, plus two District One playoff games. But the Whippets came up short in the PIAA 6A first round playoff game against North Penn, losing 35-21.

Downingtown West was talented last year, and is loaded again this season. They are ranked no. 3 in the Footballstories Top 20 teams in Southeastern PA at press time.

Howard, who was being courted by Power Five and Ivy League schools all last year, made a commitment to Kansas State of the Big 12 Conference.

In a recent interview with Footballstories after practice, Howard was asked if he feels he has unfinished business he needs to take care of in this, his final high school season.

“Certainly,” Howard said without hesitation. “Definitely. Last year I would say we were more of an underdog. Bu this year, we have more of a target on out back. This is my last ride, my senior class's last ride. We're super-motivated coming into this season, individually and as a team. I think we have really meshed together these last couple of months. We're really motivated to go get this (state championship).”

There will be a lot of “name” programs out there like Coatesville, LaSalle and North Penn who have the same goal.

According to MaxPreps, during his career, just four games into his senior season, Will Howard is 236 of 385 for 3,298 yards, 29 touchdown passed and just eight interceptions. Photo by Al Thompson

Howard believes the Whippets can get through that minefield and win a District title and possibly even more.

“I definitely feel like we can,” Howard said. “You look at us, we come out, we don't have that many kids. We don't have a sideline that's filled from 25 (yard line) to 25. But we've got a group of 40-some guys who are going to come out and outwork you every week. I feel like we proved that. We've been told we have one of the toughest non-league schedule in the State. We played the defending champs from the PAC, (Pioneer) the Central League and two Suburban League powers. We did really well against them. I really feel like we have some unfinished business in the Ches-Mont with Coatesville, then we're going to keep marching on, one week at a time, then the playoffs.”

The Whippets are 5-0. They have knocked off solid programs such as Perkiomen Valley, Neshaminy, Central Bucks South and Garnet Valley.

They face their biggest rival, Coatesville on October 18 in a game that will likely decide the Chest-Mont League championship and a favorable seed in the playoffs.

To do that, Howard will need his offensive line to be at its best. That unit has been outstanding so far this season. The O-line includes Drew Shelton (So), Beau Bryan (Sr.), Matt Micale (Jr), Tj Wickersham (Sr) and Andrew Kaczmarski (Sr).

“They're tough, hard-nosed guys,” Howard said. “They're working hard. They're in the trenches everyday. I got nothing but respect for them. We go out to diner every Thursday before games. I'm really close to those dudes. They are really good friends of mine and I have been friends with them for a while. They protect me. I haven't gotten sacked since our first game. They are doing really well.”

He will also need a clear head. Howard said it was better to get his college commitment out of the way before the season started.

“As glorious as the recruiting process is, it is a lot,” Howard said. “It's a lot of traveling, a lot of time devoted to it. It was great to just settle in and know where my home is. Now I am finally locked in with this team here. When I made that decision, I was like, now just focus 100 percent on my senior season. The Kansas State coaches said that. They were like 'we want you to be locked in, focus in on that season and get in the state championship with your boys back home.'”

Howard took a minute to talk about his favorite quarterbacks he emulates.

“I really like Trevor Lawrence (Clemson Tigers), Howard said. “He's a guy I have a lot respect for. My trainer, my QB trainer always told me you really remind me of him. He worked with him at the 'Elite 11.' Ever since then he has said you should emulate a guy like that, and Carson Wentz as well.”

Howard will be coached in college by Carson Wentz's head coach at North Dakota State, Chris Klieman. Howard said he is checking out the Wildcats games and likes – and understands – what he sees.

Said Howard: “I feel the offense they have at K-State, in watching them the last couple of weeks, and talking to all the coaches, it feels very similar to what we're running here.”

Whippets Nation hopes it is enough to grab 6A Brass Ring. *

Follow Al Thompson on Twitter @thompsoniii

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