EAST WHITELAND >> When the clock’s winding down late, a mere seven yards can begin to feel a lot more like 700 yards.
“Seven yards,” said Great Valley head coach Dan Ellis. “We were that close.”
West Chester Rustin’s defense forced the Great Valley offense into three straight incompletions in the end zone to put a stamp on a 31-27 Ches-Mont League American Division win over Great Valley Friday night.
After taking over at the 7-yard line, the Golden Knight (2-1 Ches-Mont; 2-4 overall) offense took a knee with 0.1 left on the clock before the final buzzer sounded, signaling their second straight win of the season.
“We were begging for the clock to hit zero as quick as it could,” said Rustin head coach Mike St. Clair of the game’s final moments. “Our guys were really motivated for this one. Our 1-4 start didn’t define us. We came out tonight, played a really good team and won.”
The final buzzer also dropped Great Valley to 2-1 in the Ches-Mont and 4-2 overall.
Rustin’s backfield gave the Great Valley defense headaches throughout.
Senior tailback Brandon Frazier led the charge with 233 yards — 165 during the second half — for three touchdowns on 24 carries, while fullback Kevin Sweeney carried it for 65 yards on 11 carries, including an 18-yard touchdown rush where he carried two GV defenders on his way to the end zone in the third quarter.
“Once the holes opened up, I was able to make a few guys miss and pick up some big chunks of yards,” said Frazier. “Gotta thank the line, those guys were creating the big holes for me to run through. They were working hard the entire game.”
On the other sideline, Great Valley was answering Rustin’s ground game with a precise passing attack. Quarterback Robert Geiss racked up 263 total yards of offense. He completed 17 of his 32 passing attempts for 186 yards including a pair of scores to Dylan Tashjian (94 yards receiving).
Geiss also rushed it 17 times for 77 yards including a 12-yard touchdown.
For Ellis, Geiss’ showing Friday was just another tidbit of what is becoming a standout season for the senior.
“He’s having an awesome year,” he said. “There aren’t enough good things I can say about him. He’s been a great leader, he’s vocal, he’s aggressive, he’s been throwing the ball well. He’s done a fantastic job for us so far.”
Mark DeRobertis added 129 total yards — 97 rushing — with a touchdown out of the Patriot backfield.
The tailback was on the receiving end of Geiss’ final completion, a four-yard pass across the middle to set up first down at the 7-yard line.
Although it wasn’t the perfect finish he had hoped for from the Great Valley sideline, Ellis admits the final stretch didn’t decide the night’s outcome.
“It never completely comes down to that final play or those final plays,” said Ellis. “We had our opportunities, they (Rustin) had their opportunities. We just made one less play than they did.
“That’s all it comes down to. One less play.”
Kicking & Screaming
After the opening score of the game in the first quarter, Great Valley’s extra point attempt was blocked and ruled dead.
Had the Patriots been able to convert that extra point attempt, kicker Pat Sauer likely would have been able to nail a 25-yarder to even the score at 31-31 and push the game into overtime.
Into Thin Air
Rustin quarterback Joe Dougherty didn’t attempt a pass until his team’s final drive of the opening half. He completed five of his seven attempts for 52 yards including a 28-yard strike to Collin Hurley.