Unionville can’t overcome mistakes, falls 38-35

While offense clicks, defense struggles against Exeter

By Mike McGannEditor, The Times


Unionville quarterback Alex Pechin turned in a strong performance, throwing for 210 yards and four TD, while rushing for another 56 yards on the ground, but the Indians fell to Exeter, 38-35, Friday night.

EXETER — If you read the stat sheet and saw the following: Alex Pechin threw for more than 200 yards and four touchdowns and the home Exeter team was flagged a startling 13 times for penalties, you’d draw the obvious conclusion: Unionville won in a romp.

And you’d be wrong.

Despite a bevy of miscues — and the halftime ejection of Eagles’ starting quarterback Chase Yocum — The Indians lost a tough 38-35 decision on the road in a non-league game up in Berks County, Friday night.

Two things plagued Unionville, a pair of untimely turnovers — avoiding either might well have allowed the Indians to escape with an ugly win — and missed assignments and tackles on defense, as the Eagles were able to pretty much run at will behind powerful back Jeremy Tibbets.

“I can’t help but feel like we gave that game away in a couple of different ways,” Unionville Head Coach Pat Clark said afterward. “They (Exeter) absolutely made plays when they had to, and their quarterback did a nice job in the first half. But we have some stuff to work on, we’re a young football team and that showed tonight.”

And while Clark and his staff say they feel they will have things to work on before next Saturday’s match up at Avon Grove — and old friend Harry O’Neill, now the Red Devils’ Head Coach after many years as the Indians’ defensive coordinator — the final play the first half was replete with the bizarre and, possibly, a timing error that may have allowed the play to happen in the first place.


Unionville junior running back Brandon Boon was held to just 29 yards on 13 carries on the ground, but excelled Friday in the passing game, catching three TD passes. Jim Gill Photo.

With the Eagles leading 24-21, in the final seconds of the first half, after a Yocum pass fell incomplete — apparently leaving :01.2 seconds on the clock, it appeared that the back judge felt that time in the half had expired and the half should have ended. While the officials spent some time sorting it out — and both teams got a moment to catch their breath on the sticky, humid evening — it was decided to allow a final play.

And that was, as Hunter S. Thompson once famously said “when the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.”

On the ensuing play, Yocum rolled to his left and threw a strike to Gabe Shappell for a 27-yard touchdown that appeared to end the half. But Unionville’s Ian Larson was closing on Yocum just as he released the pass and hit him. The quarterback appeared to take issue with that, and the two began shoving and apparently, blows may have been exchanged (as the scrum around the two enveloped them, it was impossible to see from the sideline). Both Yocum and Larson were ejected from the game.

Although the loss of the Eagles’ quarterback — one of the top QBs in southeast Pennsylvania — should have been a blow to Exeter, it was Unionville that continued to see the winds of back luck combine with shaky play to doom them.


The young Unionville defense struggled with bringing down the powerful runners of Exeter, including quarterback Chase Yocum, here seen breaking away for a first-half score.

The Indians muffed the kickoff for the second half and Exeter’s Joan Echavarria recoving the ball to set up a short field for freshman quarterback Brandon Unterkoffer, who took the place of Yocum, on the Unionville 24. But it was the senior, Tibbetts and Braelin Gill, who powered a quick, three-play scoring drive _ putting the Indians down 38-21, just a little over a minute into the second half.

And while the Unionville defense stiffened — and didn’t allow any further points — the offense was not quite the unstoppable force in the second half it had been in the first.

The Indians did come right back with a score — a six-play drive capped by a Pechin to Brandon Boon 39-yard TD pass — but saw their next drive stopped deep in Eagles’ territory when Pechin was picked off by Leroy Longenecker at the Exeter 16, late in the third quarter.

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