Unionville overpowers Sun Valley, 38-0

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Offense, defense dominate, but schedule gets tougher now

By Mike McGann, Editor, The Times

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Unionville’s completely shut down Sun Valley’s offense, Friday night, en route to a 38-0 win. Indians’ Dylan Rappucci sacks Vanguards’ QB Gabe Bocella, as the defense now has been unscored upon for eight straight quarters. Jim Gill photo.

EAST MARLBOROUGH — The evidence of good news for the Unionville High School football team was all around.

Young players and second stringers got quality time on the field, in fact much of the second half. For the second straight week, the offense was explosive and the defense overpowering — with an impressive eight quarter scoreless streak now, matched with three straight games of scoring 35 or more points.

And yet, things are about to “get real” and fast after the Indians dismantled Sun Valley, 38-0, Friday night in a Ches-Mont American Division game.

First off, the schedule gets a lot harder — West Chester Henderson comes to town next Friday night, fresh off an impressive win over Ches-Mont powerhouse Downingtown West — and the Indians may be facing time without their top running back, junior Brandon Boon, who appeared to suffer a significant ankle injury in the game.

So while there was a lot to celebrate from Friday night’s win, don’t expect the party to last too long, not with Henderson looming.

“Henderson next week…they’re big and they’re strong, they’re a quality football team,” Unionville head coach Pat Clark said. “There’s no easy ones left, the level of competition in our conference has gotten better. We have a big challenge next week in Henderson.”

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Back from a week-one injury, Unionville’s Quinn Cheyney closes in on Sun Valley’s Quentin West, Friday. Jim Gill photo.

Still, even with things likely to get more challenging, the numbers and the evidence of a strong performance are something worth looking at. Senior quarterback Alex Pechin — in little more than two quarters — put up some impressive numbers, completing 5 of 9 passes for 113 yards and two TD, while rushing for 85 more yards on the ground.

In fact, using nine different rushers, Unionville cranked up 255 yards on the ground, with Austin Hofman-Reardon rushing for 45 yards and two TD, Boon adding 42 yards before both gave way to younger players in the third quarter. Junior Mark Knightly showed string flashes in getting his major work at back, getting an impressive 33 yards on just four carries, and sophomore Dylan Thompson was just as good, getting 34 yards on four carries. Junior quarterback Jason Hagen looked solid in relief of Pechin, as well.

Knightly, Thompson and senior Brendan Boyle may need to pick up the slack if Boon is out for any length of time — although it also appeared clear that the rapidly improving offensive line was doing a solid job of creating running room for whomever got the ball.

On other bright spot: Clark’s son, junior tight end Patrick Clark, Jr. caught his first career touchdown pass — and for just a second, the veteran head coach could enjoy a moment of being a proud dad, giving his son a high five after the play.

“That was nice to see,” Clark admitted afterward, smiling. “After 20 years of coaching everybody else’s kid, it’s really cool to see your own kid catch a touchdown.”

On defense, the Indians continued to show improvement almost completely shutting down the Vanguards’ running game and dominating at the line of scrimmage. And interestingly, when the second unit came in during the second half, the youngsters appeared to play with an even higher level of ferocity — containing the Sun Valley first offense for much of the second half.

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Unionville senior quarterback Alex Pechin had another strong game, throwing for a pair of TD and 113 yards in a little over two quarters of work. Jim Gill photo.

“I think our kids have really bounced back from a few weeks ago and it’s really just being fundamentally sound,” Clark said. “They’re starting to take some pride in defense. If you want to win big games, you have to be able to defend. I like the way we’re headed defensively.”

Pretty much from the outset it was clear that Unionville would control the game. The Indians took the opening possession, drove 72 yards, scoring on Pechin’s pass to Elan Nash from 11 yards out. After a three and out by Sun Valley, Pechin hit Nash again for another scoring pass, this time from 40 yards out for the score to make it 14-0.

After a blocked punt was recovered by Jessie Gill on the Vanguards’ 16, Hofman-Reardon needed just two carries to score, making it 21-0. Pechin added a 30-yard field goal to make 24-0.

In the final minutes of the half, Pechin hit Nash again — this time for 42 yards — to set up another Hofman-Reardon TD run, from three yards out, to make the score 31-0 at the half.

Unionville scored on its first possession of the second half — the Pechin TD to Clark — and that was pretty much it for most of the Indians’ starting lineup on both sides of the ball.

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