Westtown – West Chester Rustin head coach Mike St. Clair was pleased with his entire squad after the Golden Knights’ 49-7 win against Octorara Friday evening, particularly his defensive line.
“Our front four, [ends] Edem Asamoa and Steve Spak, and [tackles] Mylek Durnell and Conner Cummings, put a lot of pressure on their quarterback tonight,” said St. Clair.
The 5-foot-10, 245-pound Durnell, a senior, said, “The four of us all worked together tonight. It was team synergy. Conner and I sealed up the inside, and Steve and Edem finished up on the outside.”
Rustin (4-4) scored on its opening possession, a 58-yard, seven-play touchdown drive, then the Golden Knights sacked Octorara junior quarterback Trent Pawling twice on the Braves’ opening possession, and Octorara (1-7) was forced to punt.
The Braves’ punt was fielded by Rustin sophomore Collin Hurley, who broke free for a 70-yard touchdown that gave the Golden Knights a 14-0 lead late in the first quarter.
Two plays later, Rustin senior defensive back Pat Register intercepted an Octorara pass, and early in the second quarter, Golden Knight senior running back Kevin Sweeney put his 5-foot-11, 210-pound frame to work, breaking through several Octarara tackles for a 27-yard run to the Braves’ 4 yard line. It was one of several sizable power runs by Sweeney, who finished with 98 yards rushing on eight carries. Two plays later, Rustin senior QB Joe Dougherty plunged in for a one-yard touchdown, and the hosts had a 21-0 lead.
“We made too many mistakes,” said Octorara head coach Jed King. “Giving up a punt returns for touchdowns, the two interceptions….Rustin is bigger and stronger than us, and their defense kicked our butts. But we didn’t quit, and we had no mental letdowns tonight.”
Trailing 21-0, Octorara rallied briefly for a 75-yard, 16-play touchdown drive that featured several nice runs by Pawling and culminated with a 15-yard touchdown strike from Pawling to senior end Nicholas Raabe to make the score 21-7. It was the last time the Braves scored all evening.
Dunnell said, “After we gave up that touchdown, our defense got back on its horse. It was a team effort – we all came together after that touchdown.”
Before Rustin’s defense could come back on the field, the Golden Knights’ offense went to work. Rustin got a nice kickoff return to midfield, then the Golden Kinghts marched 50 yards in 10 plays for a touchdown, highlighted by a couple of solid completions by Dougherty, the second an 8-yard strike to Sean Hopkins in the end zone for a TD and a 28-7 lead just 25 seconds before halftime.
In the third quarter, Rustin’s defense clamped down, forcing a three-and-out on Octorara’s opening second-half drive. The Braves punted to midfield, Rustin returned the punt to the Octorara 25 yard line, then on the next play junior running back Ty Pringle broke free down the right sideline for a touchdown and a 35-7 lead.
Pringle finished the night with 138 yards rushing on 14 carries, and scored four touchdowns, three of them in the second half.
“Ty ran well tonight,” said St. Clair. “He was injured earlier this year, and he’s playing at about 80 percent right now because of it, but hopefully he’ll be 100 percent soon.”
Early in the fourth quarter, Pringle scored on a 5-yard run, bolting through a big hole and standing up as he crossed the goal line, to give the hosts a 42-7 lead. Just one play earlier, Dougherty hit Hopkins for a 40-yard pass play down the left sideline.
“We did a nice job moving the ball tonight – we threw well and we ran well,” said St. Clair. “And our defense did a great job with the exception of one possession [for an Octorara touchdown].”
Rustin’s defense rose up once again when sophomore defensive back Michael Covert intercepted an Octorara pass midway through the fourth quarter. Three plays later, on a play from the Rustin 35 yard line, Pringle broke to the right, found a gang of tacklers there, then reversed field and ran down the left sideline for a 65-yard touchdown and a 49-7 lead.
Toward the end of the game, Octorara senior Jamison Schempp cracked the Rustin defense for some nice gains on the ground, and finished the night with 98 yards rushing on 10 carries.
King said, “Schempp did a great job with some nice runs up the middle tonight. He’s been a utility guy for us, this season, filling in at whatever position we need him, and he’s making some valuable contributions.”