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Stewart stars on special teams, defense for Glen Mills in win over Chi

UPPER CHICHESTER >> Glen Mills head coach Kevin Owens mixed no words when he was talking to his players after their 19-7 Del Val League victory over Chichester at Anthony Apichella Memorial Field Saturday afternoon.

“We told them we have to beat Chester next week, or we’ll be collecting equipment,” Owens said.

Glen Mills (4-5 overall, 1-3 Del Val League) entered the game sitting 11th in the District One Class 5A playoff rankings. Six of the teams ranked ahead of the Bulls — Springfield (Delco), Academy Park, Bishop Shanahan, Sun Valley, West Chester East and Great Valley — lost Friday night.

The top 16 Class 5A teams in the district will compete in the playoffs.

“It wasn’t pretty, and we’re still a work in progress,” Owens said. “We made some big plays, and then we did some things that hurt us.

“I am happy with the way we stuck with the game plan and came out of here with this win.”

Junior Justin Stewart gave Glen Mills a big play in the first quarter.

After the Bulls stopped Chi on three downs on the Eagles’ first possession, Stewart fielded Gaetano Decenzi’s punt at the GM 26 and didn’t stop running until he had crossed the goal line for the Bulls’ first six points.

“It’s the first time I ran a kick back,” Stewart said. “I just got great blocking, made one cut and kept on going.

“It was important for us that we executed today.”

In the second quarter, it was up to senior Jahnoni Hickerson to come up big for the visiting team. Chichester’s offense had been shut down at the Glen Mills’ 35 after a 14-play drive, and the teams exchanged lost fumbles midway through the period.

Jamar’queze Newsome fell on a loose ball at the Bulls’ 25. On second down, Hickerson took a handoff and coasted to the end zone with 1 minute, 35 seconds to play in the first half.

“The blocking was great,” Hickerson said. “I don’t know what I’d do without it. We talked every day about mental toughness and how it’s all about having the right mindset.”

Hickerson credited offensive linemen Braedon Gums, Eric Pirl, Sabree Wilson, Dvarri McLaurin, Jody Rudy, James Walker and Justin Gray with helping Glen Mills roll up 200 yards on the ground.

Defensively, Quadir Gibson, Bomani Branson, Jordan Eberhardt and Hassan Elliott were among the names being called for their defensive efforts as the Bulls limited Chi to 61 yards of total offense in the first half and 176 for the game.

On its first possession of the third quarter, Glen Mills scored on a nine-play drive that covered 65 yards. Hickerson got off an 18-yard run, and a pair of 15-yard penalties did a lot of damage to the Chichester defensive effort.

Quarterback Roberto Falu covered the final two yards.

Falu was hit by Chi’s Serge Filipskiy, coughed up the ball and Filipskiy fell on it at the Eagles’ 44 on the second play of the fourth quarter. On first down, Eagles quarterback Damian Thompson found an open Rashaad Shaw (four catches, 132 yards), and Shaw took the ball to the end zone.

Stewart sent the Chi fans home disappointed when he picked off a Thompson pass after the Eagles got to the Bulls’ 35 late in the game.

“We’ve been playing better football,” Chichester coach Ryan Smith said. “But we had a couple selfish penalties that really hurt, and we couldn’t get our offense going after we got it down to a two-score game. Some of those things just aren’t acceptable.”

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