Indians’ most complete effort of season; get four interceptions
By Mike McGann, Editor, UnionvilleTimes.com
ASTON — It took only a minute and 45 seconds to tell that Unionville had, shall we say, a more motivated week in practice.
Mason Popham picked off a Bill Hudson pass on the second play of the game, setting up a Matt Maggitti four-yard touchdown run — and for all intents and purposes, the game was over right then and there, as the Indians cruised to an easy 38-7 win over Sun Valley.
A week after head coach Pat Clark cited a weak effort in practice before last week’s tight win over Oxford, a spirited Unionville (4-3, 2-1 in the Ches-Mont American Division) team finally had a dominant effort in the trenches — both on offense and defense, controlling the line of scrimmage.
“I thought all of our kids responded well,” Clark said after the game. “I thought defensively, it was a big difference. Last week, we kind got the ball run right down our throats and we thought we might get the same thing tonight, but we responded this week.”
And how. By the time Vanguards even managed to move the ball into Unionville territory, they were down 21-0 in the second quarter. The defense gang tackled and constant pressure forced Hudson to make mistakes — including four interceptions, two by Rich Kaiser, who also scored on a 79-yard kickoff return to start the second half.
As usual, quarterback Connor Gades and tail back Mason Popham had strong games, combining for 150 yards on the ground and touchdown runs between them, but the game may well have been the team’s best effort as a group this season.
“I was pleased with our effort,” Clark said. “I was pleased with how efficient we were. We didn’t make many mental mistakes. When we don’t play well, a lot of it is mental for us, it’s not really physical.”
“We have Great Valley next week, that’s a little different style, they want to spread you out and throw the ball,” Clark said. “It’s going to be a big deal for them, it’s their homecoming and they’re trying to find an identity, so it’s another challenge.”
Another challenge could be complacency. With three straight games scheduled against struggling programs Great Valley, Octorara and Kennett and then a regular season ending showdown against powerhouse Downingtown East between the Indians and another postseason berth, Clark said he thinks it’s crucial his team maintains week to week focus on the teams they’re playing each week.
“I think our kids are realizing every week, people think they can pick up a win against us and for some teams, that makes their seasons,” Clark said. “I guess that’s a compliment to us, because our kids are worked so hard to build a tradition, but it also means our kids have to be responsible to hold up that end of the bargain.”