WEST CHESTER RUSTIN 34, UNIONVILLE 20
Last year, in falling short of the Ches-Mont League American Conference title, West Chester Rustin's vaunted wing-T attack struggled mightily in a critical loss to eventual champ Unionville.
Payback was served Friday night when the visiting Golden Knights, with 276 rushing yards on 46 attempts, easily handled the Indians, 34-20, and took a gigantic step toward regaining the first-place hardware.
"We had circled this game on the calendar a long time ago," said Rustin's Sean Steinmetz, a senior two-way standout. "We had to get them back for last season."
Junior halfback Terry Loper sparked the convincing triumph in Kennett Square, carrying 33 times for 184 yards and two first-half touchdowns.
"This was huge for us," said Loper, who netted 103 yards on 15 attempts before intermission. "A lot of credit has to go to our offensive line. They've been getting better and better each week."
Early in the second quarter, Loper went off the right side, following guard Steinmetz and tackle Ray Bordley, for a 42-yard score. The 5-foot-10, 185-pound speedster was never touched.
"Our line was able to get some movement on their big boys," Rustin coach Mike St. Clair said. "And when Terry finds a seam and gets out in the open, there's not too many people who are going to catch him."
The Golden Knights, ranked No. 10 in Southeastern Pennsylvania by The Inquirer, improved to 8-0 overall and 4-0 in the American Conference. They entered Week 8 in first place in the power-point rankings for the PIAA District 1 Class AAAA playoffs.
In addition to Steinmetz and Bordley, Rustin's line included center Joe Lafferty, left guard Phil Vecchiolli, left tackle Christos Moscharis, and tight end Matt Hosking. Fullback Michael Pernsley and halfback T.J. Kirk chipped in as well.
"Our line really stepped up," Steinmetz said. "It's a group that's come a long way this year. The younger kids are getting it done."
Rustin's defense, spearheaded by Steinmetz at inside linebacker, forced two interceptions and limited No. 21 Unionville (6-2, 4-1) to 92 rushing yards (on 27 attempts) and 172 passing.
The 6-1, 215-pound Steinmetz, who is hearing from the Division I-AA likes of Delaware and Monmouth, was involved in a team-high 10 tackles. He gave up wrestling after his sophomore year.
"I wanted to concentrate on football," the 18-year-old said. "I stayed in the weight room, packed on the pounds. I'm better for it."
The Golden Knights' defense also featured tackle Jake Lindauer and end Eric Dunion, and cornerbacks Omar Stewart and Andrew Amicone. Amicone and safety Ethan Ridgeway posted second-quarter picks.
In the third quarter, Dave Fithian's 16-yard pass to Hosking and Kirk's 46-yard dart upped the advantage to 34-13.
Indians junior quarterback Alex Pechin, under pressure most of the night, completed 15 of 34 passes for 172 yards. He found wideout Chris Koehler for a 22-yard, third-quarter tally.
West Chester Rustin 6 14 14 0-34
Unionville 3 3 7 7-20
WCR: Terry Loper 4 run (kick failed)
U: FG Alex Pechin 42
WCR: Loper 42 run (Dane Anderson kick)
WCR: Ethan Ridgeway 16 run (Anderson kick)
U: FG Pechin 26
WCR: Matt Hosking 16 pass from Dave Fithian (Anderson kick)
U: Chris Koehler 22 pass from Pechin (James Crowley kick)
WR: T.J. Kirk 46 run (Anderson kick)
U: Austin Hoffman-Reardon 1 run (Crowley kick)