Rustin ends Unionville league title hopes, 41-20

Indians must beat Great Valley, Oxford for postseason chance

By Mike McGann, Editor, The Times


West Chester Rustin’s Terry Loper — one of the top running backs in Chester County — breaks a tackle against Unionville, Friday night. Loper’s power running was too much for the Indians, as they fell to the Knights, 41-20. Jim Gill photo.

WESTTOWN — The engines weren’t even cool on the school buses in the parking lot when it was clear Unionville High School’s football team was in trouble.

Whether is was because the young (5-3) Indians squad had never found itself in a situation like this: battling a tough foe (West Chester Rustin), on the road, with the Ches Mont American title on the line, or the fact that the Knights came out like a team on a mission, for the first quarter or so, the game seemed a tick fast for Unionville — so much so that by midway through the second quarter, its found itself trailing 21-0.

Unionville fought back and battled it way back into the game — but couldn’t overcome the powerful 7-1 Knights’ running game and star back Terry Loper, falling 41-20, Friday night.

The loss ended the Indians’ league title hopes — and makes a District One playoff spot a dicey proposition; any more losses and that hope is done as well.

“We have to win out,” said Unionville Head Coach Pat Clark, which means finding a way to beat 6-1 Great Valley next week and finishing off with a road win against Oxford.

As for the slow start, it didn’t appear to be one of effort, but one where the situation was initially more overwhelming than the young team was expecting.


Unionville’s Alex Pechin throws to Elan Nash against West Chester Rustin, Friday night. Jim Gill photo.

“I’m disappointed we didn’t start fast enough,” Clark said. “Maybe some of that was guys starting in their first big game, but we certainly didn’t make enough plays early. I think we settled in in the second quarter and matched their intensity from the second quarter on.”

To their credit, the young Indians’ squad found its footing and battled back into the game. Senior quarterback Alex Pechin led the comeback through the air, completing 12 of 20 passes for 240 yards and score — as the Indians went to the air, after their running game was stymied.

But having fallen behind, as Loper continued his stellar season — he had a pair of rushing TDs — when Unionville started finding away to contain the Rustin rushing attack, Knights’ quarterback Even Wlack was able to use the play-action pass to devastating effect, throwing for two more scores. In the end too was too big a hill to climb against one of the top teams in southeast Pennsylvania.

Wlack scored on Rustin’s opening drive — an eight-minute ground-pound that set the early tone — diving in from the one. After Unionville was forced to punt on a three-and-out, Loper and running back Dom Simpkins continued showing their rushing prowess, again helping the Knights ground out a scoring drive. Loper scored from the seven to make it 14-0.


Unionville’s Tyler Marmo fights for yardage against West Chester Rustin. Jim Gill photo.

Unionville’s offense began to show signs of life, but its next drive was stalled by penalties and a continued struggle to move the ball on the ground.

Rustin — having sold the run game — scored on an 82-yard play-action pass from Wlack to Mike McKnight, putting the Indians in a deep 21-0 hole.

But it was at that point, when things looked all but hopeless when Unionville found its footing and clawed back into the game. After a strong Brandon Boon kickoff return set them up at midfield, Pechin was able to use his arm to move the Indians. He hit Tyler Marmo with a 27-yard pass, and then kept the drive alive with a 17-yarder to Boon. Pechin scampered in from five yards out on a broken pass play to get Unionville on the scoreboard just before halftime.

Although Unionville got the second half kick off, its initial drive stalled, and Rustin took advantage to eat both clock and yardage. Again behind Loper, they marched methodically down the field, going 69 yards and taking seven precious minutes off the clock, capped by Wlack hitting Andrew Chobany for a scoring pass to make it 28-7.

But again, down but not out, Unionville fought back. Pechin — using his feet and arm — engineered another drive, going 76 yards on just six plays, to close the score with 28-14, on his 30-yard scoring pass to Boon.

And after getting a quick stop against Rustin, the Indians appeared to be on the verge of scoring again — Pechin hit Boon with a 37-yard pass — but the junior was hit after the ball arrived, and lost the handle. The officials ruled it a fumble, with Rustin recovering. And again, Loper sealed the deal, carrying the ball three times on a four-play drive, scoring from 13 yards out to give Rustin a 35-14 lead middwy through the final quarter.

Again, Unionville rose — and again Pechin led a scoring drive to keep their faint hopes alive. Pechin hit Elan Nash twice and Brendan Boyle once with passes to set up Austin Hofmann-Reardon’s one yard run. The extra point attempt was blocked, leaving Unionville in a 35-20 hole, with 4:38 left.

The Indians tried an onside kick — but Rustin was able to recover at midfield. Again, Loper ground out a drive and ended Unionville’s hopes, scoring from five yards out to cap the scoring at 41-20.

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