Unionville wins epic battle over Rustin, 28-21


Unionville’s Brandon Boon dives in for the score in the final seconds as the Indians beat West Chester Rustin, Friday night, 28-21. Jim Gill photo.

Indians’ score with :14 to go seals back and forth battle

By Al Tustin, Staff Writer, The Times

WESTTOWN — With a shade more than 14 seconds remaining and the ball on the one-foot line, a whole season might well have come down to which team could make one last play.

While it might seem premature in the fourth game of the season to declare any game as make or break, Friday night’s Unionville-West Chester Rustin football game — as has been the case for each of the last five years — could well determine the winner of the ChesMont American Division title. And after a brilliant 47-plus minutes of passion, hard hitting and power by both teams, it came down to one play, one moment that would likely define an entire season:

Third and goal for the Indians on the Knights one-foot line, 14.3 seconds left in the game.

In the end it came down to two Unionville seniors, quarterback Brendan Boyle, running back Brandon Boon — a pair that combined for 180 yards of rushing on the ground — to make one last play. Boyle pitched right to Boon and he broke the right corner to dive in for the winning score. With a two-point conversion, the Indians held on for a thrilling and crucial 28-21 win, Friday night, in the ChesMont American Division opener for both teams.

“I told coach (Pat Clark) to throw toss and I was going to get in,” Boon said after the game. “I knew I need to get in, to put the team on my back.”


Unionville senior quarterback Brendan Boyle had a strong game, rushing for 122 yards and completing 6-of-8 passes. Jim Gill photo.

“This was probably the best game I’ve ever played in,” he said. “It was just incredible.”

With Boon and Boyle’s play — along with senior receiver/defensive back Tyler Marmo, who had a key interception and a crucial kickoff return late and senior Elan Nash’s knack for the big catch when needed — when the Indians needed a big play, they got it.

Unionville (3-1) was able to contain Rustin’s Ty Pringle, arguably the county’s top running back, to just 66 yards on 14 carries, while Boyle, Boon and the Indians offense was able to stay on the field, mounting one long drive after another. Boyle had his most efficient passing day in career completing 6-of-8 for 65 yards, much of that coming on a big completions to Nash. It was a performance that reminded some of that of some of the program’s top running quarterbacks, including Tom Pancoast, who now suits up for Penn State.

“What a great win by our kids,” Clark said. “They were light out. We got great performances, Marmo gave us great plays and Boyle and Boon, and Elan (Nash) had three or four big catches. Our skill guys carried us and our guys up front did a good job, too.”

Boyle did all of the little things in the game — including a killer block on a broken run play that sprung Boon — because he understood all too well what was on the line.

“I’m always in it for the team,” Boyle said. “Brandon did a great job this whole game and I wanted to give something back to him. I gave him a block and it opened some holes and he ended up getting in the next play. It was a total team effort.”

The win gives the Indians control of their own fate in terms of the division title — the last time they managed to beat Rustin, in 2012, they won the ChesMont American title. While it is likely that (4-0) Great Valley, which beat Octorara 47-0, Friday night, will have much to say about who wins this year’s title, with an Oct. 17 match up with the Patriots, a week after they take on Rustin, looms as a large one. That game and next week’s road game against undefeated Downingtown East will also likely determine whether the Indians earn a District One playoff berth — with the potential of hosting a home game still in Unionville’s grasp.


Unionville’s Tyler Marmo races to the right sideline on what would prove to be a crucial kickoff return late in the fourth quarter. Jim Gill photo.

But Clark noted, that no one should get ahead of themselves and assume anything is won, yet.

“You’ve got three really good football teams (Unionville, Rustin and Great Valley,” Clark said. “No one wins a championship in September.”

But the road to that championship may have started Friday night.

Right from the start, the contest was a tense, tough nailbiter: a battle between two strong teams that both seemed to understand the stakes in the contest. The Indians mounted an impressive  opening 14-play drive, capped by a one-yard Bryce McManus plunge to grab an early 6-0 lead.

The Knights struck back in the second quarter, with QB Evan Wlock hitting fullback Alex Rotelli for a 16-yard scoring pass to give Rustin a narrow, 7-6 lead at the half.

Rustin grabbed the lead in the third quarter when on a broken pass play, Wlock raced 69 yards for a score and a 14-6 lead. Unionville, though, calmly mounted a drive in response, capped by Boyle’s 4-yard run, to cut the gap to 14-12.

But the real drama jumped up a notch in the final quarter.

Marmo picked off a Wlock pass near the goal line and race the ball back to the Unionville 40 — both stopping a lengthly Rustin drive and putting the Indians in business. Unionville mounted an impressive eight-play drive, sparked by Boon’s 16-yard run, which came on a broken run to the left of center. Boon seeing no hole, bounced back to the right, and cleared by Boyle’s devastating block of Kevin Sweeney. Sprung, he raced in for the score.

A Boyle to Nash conversion pass — placed perfectly in the right corner of the endzone, gave the Indians a 20-14 lead with about 8 minutes left in the game.

Rustin — winners of four of the last five ChesMont American titles — wasn’t going down without a battle. The Knights immediately marched down the field, sparked by Wlock’s 33-yard pass to Brandon Fraizer, who made an incredible catch despite being in double coverage down to the 2. On the next play, Rustin grabbed the lead back, scoring on a Pringle two-yard run. With Cole Gallagher’s extra point, the Knights took a 21-20 lead.

That left Unionville with the ball and less than 5 minutes left on the clock.

Que another big play by Marmo: he caught the ensuring kickoff on the Unionville 9, near the left hash, cut right and danced past Rustin defenders, racing up the right sideline before finally being taken down on the Knights’ 34. After a couple of short runs, Boyle hit Boon over the middle for a first down inside the Rustin 15. Then Boyle powered down inside the 10 to the eight. After a couple of short run, Boyle fought his way to the 3, for a first down. Then Boon fought to the 1 on first down. On second down, Boyle got within inches of the goal, but was stopped just short. On third down, another Boyle run fell just short.

That brought up fourth down, inches to go. 14.3 seconds left on the clock.

Boyle pitched right to Boon, who broke the corner and dove in for the score. On the two-point conversion, Boyle broke right, and then worked back to the left, to race in for the conversion. Unionville led 28-21 with :11 left.

The Indians were able to bottle up the Knights on the ensuing kickoff, holding them to their own 21. On a first pass play, Pat Clark Jr. reached up with a giant paw and knocked down Wlock’s pass attempt, leaving one last shot for Rustin with :04 left on the clock. Wlock managed a long completion to Brandon Frazier along right right sideline, but Nash and James Watson brought him down near the 40 as time expired.

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  1. Colin Moynihan says:

    i thought frazier had the last catch of the game i swear i saw #23 catch i saw it right when it happend

  2. Tom and Elaine boyle says:

    We are so proud of the team and Brendan’s contribution

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