Pechin throws for 298 yards, 5TD to pace explosive offense
By Drew Diehl, Correspondent, The Times
EAST MARLBOROUGH — As a heavy fog rolled in midway through the third quarter, the Unionville offense continued rolling on their way to a dominant 70-24 win over Oxford.
After being held to only a touchdown in the first quarter, the Indians (8-2, 5-1 Ches Mont American) rattled off 63 points largely on the arm of junior quarterback, Alex Pechin. With a 21-7 victory over Great Valley the previous week that featured only six passes, the Indians handed the ball back to Pechin—who threw for 298 yards on nineteen attempts with five touchdowns and one interception—in hopes of challenging the stingy Oxford secondary.
Defensively, the Indians held Oxford to 270 yards of total offense, forced four interceptions, and relinquished only one offensive touchdown.
Pechin connected with six different receivers with two of his touchdowns going to running back Dom DiBiaggio on screen passes.
“It was amazing.” Pechin said afterwards. “The line played great, the receivers were open, and it was just a great way to end our season and go into playoffs.”
Taking a 7-0 lead into the second quarter, the Oxford (7-3, 3-3) offense drove its way inside the Unionville ten-yard line only to be forced into a 27-yard field goal after a third down sack by Indians’ defensive lineman Mark Caputo. On the following kickoff, the Hornets scored on a fumble recovery by Zach Deasey to go ahead 10-7. From there, Unionville took over possession and sustained an 80 yard drive that was capped by a three yard touchdown by running back Garrett Scargill—who ran for 167 yards and 2 scores on 20 carries.
Up 14-10, Oxford was forced to punt from their own 15-yard line after a three-and-out. Unionville took over at the Hornets’ 43-yard line, and marched down the field on the legs of Pechin and Scargill with the drive resulting in a 12-yard screen pass from Pechin to DiBiaggio for a touchdown.
After getting the ball back on their own 20-yard line, Herb was intercepted by cornerback Chris Koehler on a pass into the flat.
On the very next play, with Unionville threatening inside Oxford’s 25-yard line, Pechin threw his lone interception of the night on a pass intended for tight end Dan McClaskey.
With the ball back on their own 20-yard line and down 20-10 on the scoreboard, the Hornets were unable to get anything going on the ground or through the air, and were once again forced to punt.
Pechin and company were not to be turned away. After a 48-yard pass from Pechin to Koehler, Scargill scampered in from the 12-yard line for his second touchdown of the game. An Oxford penalty and a two-point conversion put the Indians up 28-10, and from there, the Indians’ offense and defense never looked back.
Aside from a 70-yard touchdown pass from Oxford quarterback Ethan Herb to Mustafa Mahmud, the Indians’ defense gave up only five first downs after the first quarter.
“They were able to dictate the pace of the game.” Oxford Head Coach Mike Pietlock said after the game. “Their coaches had a game plan, and they executed in all facets of the game.”
Although Unionville outperformed Oxford offensively and defensively, the Hornets scored 14 of their 24 points on special teams—the fumble recovery for a touchdown by Deasey and a 98-yard kick return by Mahmud.
“We were consistently great on offense and defense.” Clark said afterward. “But we have some stuff to sure up on special teams.”
Playing for a spot in the PIAA District One AAAA playoffs, the Hornets will likely fall short after their loss to the Indians. At 7-3 on the season, Oxford has cemented their first winning season since 1997, and reclaimed stature as a tough team to beat in the Ches Mont American division.
With the win, the 8-2 Indians secured their spot in the 16-team District One playoff picture. Likely ending up as the thirteen or fourteen seed, Unionville could see Suburban One teams, Pennsbury (9-1) or Neshaminy (9-1), with the possibility of facing fellow Ches Mont team, Coatesville (9-1) following its loss to Downingtown West.
“[The playoffs] are a great opportunity.” Clark said. “The kids earned it. The teams are all good in the playoffs, and we look forward to playing our best football.”
Tonight marked Clark’s 100th career win as a head coach, and with a road playoff game looming, he hopes to lead a balanced offensive attack and stout defense deep into the PIAA playoffs.