WESTTOWN >> Any team playing against its archrival dreams of getting off to a fast start.
Thursday night, West Chester Rustin’s dreams came true.
The host Golden Knights got off to about the best start a football team can hope for when junior Collin Hurley took West Chester Henderson’s opening kick off and went 90 yards untouched to the end zone. Rustin dominated the Warriors the rest of the way en route to a convincing 37-6 nonleague triumph.
“I just saw a big opening in the middle of the field and I got going,” Hurley said, “All the credit goes to the guys up front that blocked the Henderson guys. All I did was see the hole and run the football.”
Rustin (1-1) ran the football at will against the Henderson (0-2) defense as the Golden Knights piled up 249 yards on the ground, led by senior Nick Benoit, who tallied 175 yards on just 15 carries and the senior added a 39-yard touchdown run in the fourth period.
The Rustin defense, led by senior Jack Villone, held Warriors star running back C.J. Preston to just 35 yards rushing on 17 carries. Henderson did not score until the fourth period when after a Rustin fumble, Henderson quarterback Joe Saulino hit Kavond Jones with a four-yard touchdown pass to prevent the shutout. Saulino completed nine of 14 passes for 120 yards on the night and he absorbed many big hits from the ravenous Golden Knights defense, having to leave the game twice due to injuries.
“Our defense has worked hard all summer,” Rustin head coach Mike St. Clair said. “They are experienced and they flew to the football tonight. But that Henderson quarterback can make plays left and right and he showed a lot of courage by hanging in there tonight. And to win West Chester is still our No. 1 goal. To beat Henderson and West Chester East is always the first goal of this football team and we got one tonight. And our special teams coaches do a great job and that kickoff return got us started and Hurley just took off.”
Rustin held a commanding 17-0 lead at halftime but Henderson took the second half kick and drove for a first down. But the drive stalled and the Warriors punted to Rustin. The Golden Knights ran the football down deep into Henderson territory and J.T. Aloiso took a 10-yard pass from junior Will Pileggi and the Golden Knights salted the game away at 24-0 with just over three minutes to play in the third period.
After Saulino hit Jones for the score, Rustin went on one of its patented long drives by running the football and Benoit finished things off with a 39-yard run down the left side for a 30-6 lead and Henderson was finished for the night.
“My sophomore year we beat then 28-0 and then last year we could not do anything and they beat us,” Villone said. “To beat them like this in front of our fans and our families is a great feeling and it is a game we can take with us into the rest of the season.”
Henderson rushed the football for just 97 yards for the game and had trouble sustaining drives. The Warriors are 0-2 going into next week’s nonleague clash with Owen J. Roberts as a beaten and bruised football team.
“Anytime you give up a kickoff return it is a big play,” West Chester Henderson head coach Steve Mitten said. “But, just like last week this game was won and lost in the trenches and until we change that the results are going to be the same. We have a lot of work to do.”
West Chester Rustin 37
West Chester Henderson 6
W.C. Henderson 0 0 0 0 — 6
W.C. Rustin 10 7 7 13 — 37
Rustin — Hurley 90 kickoff return (Bosch kick)
Rustin — Bosch 25 FG
Rustin — Hopkins 28 pass from Pileggi (Bosch kick)
Rustin — Aloiso 10 pass from Pileggi (Bosch kick)
Henderson — Jones 4 pass from Saulino (run failed)
Rustin — Benoit 39 run (kick failed)
Rustin — Covert 58 interception return (Bosch kick)
First downs 13 15
Rushes-yards 32-97 34-249
Passing 10-16-1 3-4-0
Passing yards 125 44
Total yards 222 293
Punts 4-34.5 1-32.0
Fumbles-lost 0-0 3-2
Penalties-yards 4-40 4-30
Rushing: HEND: Preston 17-35; Saulino 11-46; Pierce 3-10; Gordiany 1-5. RUS: Benoit 15-175 TD; Aloiso 4-18; Covert 7-29; Pileggi 6-18; Burke 1-3; Hurley 1-6.
Passing: HEND: Saulino 9-14-1 120 yards TD; Gordiany 1-2-0 5 yards. RUS: Pileggi 3-4-0 44 yards 2TD.
Receiving: HEND: Tracy 5-71; Jones 4-34; Czukoski 1-20. RUS: hopkins 2-34 TD; Aloiso 1-10 TD.
Sacks: RUS: Villone, McGuire.
Interceptions: RUS: Covert.