Indians steamroll Avon Grove, 27-8

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Dominant rushing performances set up Unionville for showdown with Rustin, Sept. 21

By Mike McGann, Editor, The Times

Senior running back Brad Pechin dives for the endzone, Friday. Pechin had a strong game, running for 178 yards on 14 carries, as Unionville overpowered Avon grove, 27-8. Jim Gill photo.

WEST GROVE – The ground game is back — and maybe not a minute too soon.

Using one of the most impressive team rushing efforts in quite a while, Unionville steamrolled Avon Grove, 27-8, Friday night. Brad Pechin rolled up 178 yards on 14, carries while teammates John Stradling (108 yards on 15 carries) and Garrett Scargill (81 yards on 10 carries) helped the 2-1 Indians to amass 362 yards on the ground.

“We were better offensively this week than last week and we were real consistent unfront,” Unionville head coach Pat Clark said afterwards. “That’s something we can really build on.”

While the runners had a big night, it was the Unionville offensive line which really had a dominant night in the trenches.

“They’re a good group of kids,” Clark said of his offensive line. “We’ve got three or four kids back with experience, we’ve got some young kids who have stepped up. They want to run the football, they want to be physical. When we’ve been really good, our style has been to run the football. We’ve got a line that’s starting to come together at the right time.”

Senior running back John Stradling powers toward the endzone during Friday’s night game against Avon Grove. Stradling had a breakout game, rushing for 108 yards on 15 carries for the Indians. Jim Gill photo.

And while the performance was impressive, the timing might be even more important. undefeated West Chester Rustin — coming off a 37-7 win over West Chester East Friday night — comes to Unionville next week in a game that could decide the Ches-Mont American Division title.

There were few moments of true drama in the contest, as the Indians came out in a very businesslike manner and steamrollered the 0-3 Red Devils.

Unionville would score on its first three possessions, effectively putting the game out of reach by the half, although a young Avon Grove team under first-year head coach Doug Langley showed a bit of fight in the second half.

After forcing a punt, Unionville marched right down the field, scoring on a eight-play, 54-yard drive, with Stradling scoring on a nine-yard run. On the next possession, senior QB Tom Pancoast scored from one yard out. Pancoast, on an uncharacteristically quiet night, scored twice adding another one-yard rush in the final minutes of the first half, but was limited to just 36 yards on the ground, and was 2 of 5 passing for 17 yards and two interceptions.

Pechin, a senior running back, who enjoyed his first big breakout game, powered his way to a 57-yard scoring run in the opening minutes of the third quarter, putting the Indians up 27-0. Along with Stradling — another senior — and juniors Scargill and Dom DiBiaggio, the Indians are rapidly developing multiple weapons on the ground.

Unionville senior quarterback Tom Pancoast completes a pass to Brad Pechin, during Friday night’s 27-8 win over Avon Grove. Jim Gill photo.

“We did it by committee,” Clark said. “Dom (DiBiaggio) ran the ball well in there, he had a big week last week; Garrett Scargill ran the ball well, and Brad (Pechin) had a couple of big runs. So we’ve got four guys running the ball, and Tommy (Pancoast) mixed in, so it gave us nice balance.”

The Red Devils got on the scoreboard when quarterback Tanner Peck hit Cody Davis over the middle for a 45-yard TD strike.

Getting through what have been a “trap” game in a fairly business-like manner, all eyes turn to the showdown next Friday night at Unionville — against the undefeated Knights — the team that has stood between the Indians and the Ches-Mont American title for the last few years.

“They’re the champ until somebody beats them,” Clark said. “They’re playing great football. I think we’re in for a great football game. I think we’re going to be ready.”

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