WESTTOWN >> West Chester Rustin, looking for its first win of the season Friday evening, got it – with a dominating performance.
The Golden Knights’ defense completely shut down Oxford, not allowing a first down until just before halftime. Offensively, the hosts ran the ball early and often, holding the ball for long touchdown drives and rolling up a 17-0 lead by the start of the second quarter.
It added up to a convincing 33-6 win for Rustin, now 1-4 on the season. The visitors didn’t score until the final play of the game.
“We were hungry for a win,” said Rustin running back and outside linebacker Brandon Frazier, who scored three touchdowns Friday night in front of the home crowd. “All week long at practice we worked hard. Tonight, we played Rustin-type football.”
Rustin head coach Mike St. Clair noted, “Our defense has been playing well all season, and it did well tonight against a good offensive team.”
St. Clair singled out senior defensive ends Edem Asamoa and Steven Spak, junior inside linebackers JT Aloisio and Nick Joerger (“they did a great job controlling the middle”) and senior free safety Pat Register (“his interception turned the game around”).
Register’s interception and subsequent return to the Oxford 25 yard line came midway through the first quarter and the hosts holding a 7-0 lead. Two plays later, senior running back Kevin Sweeney scored standing up on a 13-yard touchdown run to make it 14-0.
Rustin started the game by forcing a three-and-out by the Oxford offense, then went on a 48-yard touchdown drive consiting of eight straight running plays, capped by a 10-yard TD run to the left by Frazier.
“Our offensive line made it really easy for us tonight,” said Frazier. “Once we saw the holes they were opening up for us – and there were some good-sized holes – we went right through them.”
St. Clair said, “We haven’t been able to put it together offensively until tonight. Our linemen were opening holes tonight, and our running backs (Frazier, Register, Sweeney and sophomore Michael Covert) were doing a great job hitting the holes and blocking for each other.”
The Golden Knights’ head coach singled out junior guard Ray McGuire, senior center Dan Brown, senior guard Mike Andrew and junior tackle Dan Shoup as the leading hole-openers for the Rustin running backs.
Frazier scored his second touchdown of the night midway through the third quarter on a 2-yard plunge that capped an 82-yard scoring drive that consisted of 12 running plays and only two passes.
Fraizer’s final touchdown was a 29-yard romp that capped an 85-yard drive consisting of 11 running plays and only one pass. On his touchdown run, he headed down the middle, only to break sharply to the right at the 20-yard line and head into the right corner of the end zone.
“I saw the whole right side open up,” said Frazier. “Pat Register made a great block that opened a big hole for me.”
Even the kicking game looked good for Rustin. Senior kicker Cole Gallagher was perfect on all of his kicks, which included field goals of 42 and 27 yards.
For Oxford, the 33-6 loss was a jolt. Coming into the contest, Oxford (1-4) had scored 83 points in its first four games, wllowing only 63. Their three losses were by a total of six points. But Friday’s loss was a different matter for the Hornets.
“We took a beating tonight,” said Oxford head coach Michael Means. “We got outcoached, and outplayed physically. We did make a lot of strides tonight [toward getting better], but we’ve got to learn to stay on an even keel, and stay up [mentally] for the entire contest. I think we panicked when we fell behind tonight.”
The Hornets caused a brief flurry of excitement in the Oxford bleachers when sophomore backup quarterback Brett Kochmansky broke free for a 53-yard gain in the final minute, bringing the ball down to the Rustin 3-yard line. On the final play of the game, he scrambled to to the right and eluded tacklers to just make it into the end zone.
“Our younger guys, the second team, did a good job late in the game,” noted Means.
But most of the night belonged to West Chester Rustin.