Rustin dominates West Chester East, 49-7

By Chris Sheehan, Correspondent, The Times

Victory formation was in order for West Chester Rustin, late, against rival West Chester East.

WESTTOWN — Bayard Rustin High School did not have the kind of football season that had become the school’s norm in 2016, actually posting a losing record. But in case anyone was wondering: Rustin is back in 2017.

The Knights made that clear, as yhey extended their record this season to 2-1 as they shut down neighbor high school West Chester East, 49-7, in stellar performance last Friday night.

“We were a little bit disappointed in our outcome last year, so the kids really hit it hard and are in great shape. Built a really tight team unit” said Rustin’s head coach Mike St. Clair when asked about preparing for this season, and prepare they did. In their season opener, Rustin took a hard loss against Garnet Valley 19-7. However, after getting the jitters out, they came back the following two weeks and attacked with a vengeance.

With a 37-6 victory over Henderson High School and a 49-7 victory of West Chester East, Rustin has now taken the belt as winners of the Battle for West Chester 2017.

West Chester East struggled to get its offense moving for much of the game, Friday night.

With standout games played by Rustin’s wide receivers Collin Hurley and Patrick Quinn, running backs Michael Covert and Nick Benoit, and fullback JT Aloisio. Together they were able to march up and down the field to score a total of 49 points. West Chester East’s star running back Jared Cooper is out due to a knee injury keeping him from playing.

East’s offense was mainly unproductive except for a few plays striking electricity into their sideline and stands. Running back Kyle Cichanowsky and wide receiver Michael Gray had good games for East, however, were only able to put up seven points during the night.

“Obviously it’s next man up” said East head coach Scott Stephen when asked about star running back Jared Cooper. “Jared is a big loss, but Kyle Cichanowsky was able to step in and prove he can run the football.”

Cooper, who was injured earlier in the season, has been said to be the next big thing coming out of West Chester East having had himself a standout season as a junior last season — a season where the Vikings earned a berth in the District One playoffs.

Without him on the field, East has been lead by several of the team’s seniors. “Obviously Cooper, but Jacobs, Gonzalez, and Delgadillo, were relying on those guys from here on out to step up and lead us forward” said coach Stephen.

Without their offense at it’s best, the Vikings had trouble moving the ball against Rustin’s defense. Punting the ball six times and turning the ball over once more on a failed 4th & 1 attempt gave Rustin several opportunities to put points on the board during this relatively fast paced game.

Rustin kept the ball on the ground most of the game which is a perfect strategy for beating your opponent and beating them fast. Since Rustin ran the ball 80% of the time on offense, the clock was always ticking down as they marched down the field run by run.

The Knights’ Wing-T style offense opened up both sides of the field for jet sweeps and bootleg passes. Collin Hurley and Michael Covert both had a huge game for Rustin sharing the ball on just about every run the offense produced. If it wasn’t either of those two, power back Nick Benoit would often times be sent in to do some damage and fullback JT Aloisio was summoned for short yardage situations that would give Rustin either a first down on touchdown.

With a combined total of 28 carries and five rushing touchdowns, Rustin’s backfield had themselves one hell of a night. East’s defense was only able to make Rustin punt the ball away twice throughout the game, making it difficult to stop them from scoring the ball.

East was only able to score the ball once throughout the night, however, the drive on which they scored was spectacular. Two screen passes that led to two huge gains down the sideline put East in scoring position. Third time would be the charm and on a third pass, East was able to put the ball in the back of the end zone. This took place in the mid-second quarter; they would not score again.

Rustin looks to continue their winning streak as they play again this Friday night away at Oxford at 7 p.m. East also plays on Friday night away against Shanahan at 7 p.m.

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