Gades, Popham solid, but turnovers, powerful defense help Indians bury Great Valley, 24-7
By Mike McGann, Editor, UnionvilleTimes.com
MALVERN — It was the kind of a game that could have been a trap for Unionville — a struggling Great Valley team celebrating its homecoming Saturday amidst a patch of moderately easier games before a season-ending showdown with Downingtown East.
But within moments of the opening whistle, the Indians made it clear that they were in the here and now, running out to a 16-0 lead in the first quarter and holding on for a solid 24-7 win.
Unionville (5-3, 3-2 in the Ches-Mont American Division) looked like it would romp to an easy win after totally dominating the Patriots (1-5, 1-4), but after the early offensive fireworks, the offense bogged down a bit, turning the game into more of a workman-like performance.
“We lost our focus and that’s very typical of high school sports,” Indians head coach Pat Clark said. “You get up and then you lose your focus and we made a few mistakes. Fortunately, on special teams we also scored twice today which helped us and gave us great field position. I was very pleased with our effort.”
If the offense, at times, sputtered after the first quarter, the defense dominated all four quarters — Great Valley’s lone score came on a block of a Unionville punt — and it managed to post a pair of safeties, creating a bit more comfortable margin.
Senior quarterback Connor Gades struggled a bit in the passing game, completing just 4 of 14 passes for 53 yards — but he was his usual dynamic self running the ball, adding 75 yards on 20 carries. Mason Popham ground it out again, pounding away for 87 yards on 25 carries — but they were often tough yards as the Patriots were able to close up any running room up the middle time and again.
But maybe the story of the day was turnovers — mostly by Great Valley — and Unionville’s ability to cash in. Pats’ quarterback Graham Lucas fumbled the ball on the third play of the game — giving the Indians the ball on Great Valley’s 21. Four plays later Evan Weslyk powered the ball in from one yard out and Norb Sax’ extra point made it 7-0. (story continues on next page, click below)