Indians’ explosive offense continues to produce on the ground and in the air
By Mike McGann, Editor, The Times
EAST MARLBOROUGH — Kennett’s Nick Dunlevy had just raced 69 yards down the right side, silencing a raucous Unionville homecoming crowd, seemingly tying the game and sending the message that the friendly battle of neighbors was going to be a contest.
But then a couple of yellow flags fluttered to the ground — offsetting penalties — wiping out Dunlevy’s run and any Blue Demon momentum, as the powerful Indians went on to cruise to a 45-7 win, Friday night, in a Ches Mont American matchup of neighbors and rivals.
“Whenever you play a team like that (Unionville) and you have a touchdown called back, you lose momentum,” Kennett High School head coach Scott Green said. “Unfortunately, we had a long play, I thought it was a positive play, we had momentum, but we just couldn’t rebound from that. It was tough.”
For the two teams — who battled for a playoff spot in the final regular season game of 2012 — the game told the bigger story: one team growing more powerful weekly, with arguably the most explosive passing offense in Chester County, a solid running game and a strong defense; for the other, a talented ground game, but young and at times undone by inexperience.
For Unionville (5-1), the Friday night Homecoming win marked the fifth straight victory by 20 or more points and again, strong performances by senior running back Garrett Scargill, who mixed solid power running up the middle (59 yards rushing on 11 carries) with an uncanny knack for making the big catch (three receptions for 65 yards) at the right time, and junior quarterback Alex Pechin, who threw for three TD and 181 yards.
“It’s nice to be heading down the home stretch and really coming on in all phases of the game,” Unionville High School head coach Pat Clark said. “Our kids put a ton of effort in, and with all the effort, we’re down to a four-week window — we have to play one game at a time, and we have to play better every week.”
Kennett (2-4), meanwhile continues to struggle with young players — most notably Dunlevy, the talented sophomore quarterback who took the controls last week — but the scoreboard didn’t tell the entire story. The Blue Demons actually had a pretty solid night running the ball out of the option — gaining 133 yards on the ground, paced by Dunlevy’s 56 yards and Liam Clarke’s 46 yards on just nine carries.
Combined with Dunlevy’s 6-of-10 passing for 58 yards, the stat sheet showed a much closer game than the score indicated — but Kennett made key mistakes or Unionville’s defense made strong plays at just the right moment to stall drives. And once the Blue Demons found themselves down by three scores, it became harder and harder to stick to the effective, but clock-eating option offense.
The Indians grabbed the lead on David Daly’s 18-yard end sweep on their first possession. And then moments after it appeared Dunlevy had tied the game on the next play from scrimmage — only to see it negated by penalties — but still the Blue Demons moved the ball, Dunlevy connecting with Damian Bennett, who made a great juggling catch, and with the sophomore QB racing 19 yards to the Unionville 30 to set up a scoring threat.
But Dunlevy was picked off by Unionville’s Elan Nash, ending the threat. Adding salt to the wound, the Indians methodically drove down the field and scored, this time on Scargill’s 2-yard run, to make it 14-0.
Kennett got the ball back, but couldn’t get much moving on offense — before Dunlevy was intercepted again, this time by Quinn Cheyney. Wasting no time, Pechin hit Daly with a 45-yard TD pass on the next play, and suddenly, Kennett was looking at a 21-0 deficit.
Still, the Blue Demons didn’t quit. Instead of panicking, they calmly put together their best drive of the game, powering the ball 71 yards, capped by Clarke’s 2-yard run, to make it 21-7, with just over a minute left in the half.
While a minute is not much time for most high school offenses, Unionville is rapidly become expert at adding points in the final seconds of the half — and did so again, here. The Indians moved quickly from their own 40 into field goal range as time dwindled in the half. Pechin then booted a 35-yard field goal that looked like it would have been good from at least 45 yards out to end the half at 24-7.
Starting the third quarter, the Indians’ offense found another gear and turned what had been a competitive game into rout in a matter of minutes.
Unionville drove 53-yards on its first possession of the half, capped by an 8-yard run by Austin Hofman-Reardon to make it 31-7. Two plays later, Dunlevy fumbled and Unionville’s Mark Caputo recovered. Pechin then hit Dan McClaskey with a 26-yard TD pass on the next play, to make it, 38-7.
After Kennett was held to a three-and-out, it the Indians all of two plays (and a personal foul call against the Blue Demons) to score again: another Pechin pass, this time to Chris Koehler from 33 yards out to cap the scoring.
Unionville faces a classic trap game next week, traveling to 1-5 Octorara, with key contests against West Chester Rustin, Great Valley and Oxford looming. Kennett, meanwhile must travel to undefeated Coatesville — one of the state’s top teams and the defending Eastern AAAA champions.