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Pretty or not, Chichester jumps out to 2-0 start against Kennett

UPPER CHICHESTER >> When Chichester opens its doors Tuesday for the 2017-18 academic year, it will house something none of the current students have experienced — a 2-0 football team.

Thanks to an uneven and often ugly 20-12 win over Kennett Friday, the Eagles are undefeated after two weeks for just the second time since 2005.

“It’s a pretty cool feeling,” said receiver Andre Dean, who had a strong game with nine catches for 80 yards and a touchdown. “This has never happened as long as I’ve been here, so we’re really excited to see how far we can take it.”

If they’re going to take it to a third win though, they’ll need to play more disciplined than against the Blue Demons.
Kennett was over-matched the entire game. Take away a 98-yard touchdown run by fullback Kevin Wessels in the first quarter and Kennett only gained 95 yards the rest of the contest.

And yet, they were always within one score.

The Eagles allowed the Blue Demons to hang around because of 13 penalties for 115 yards. Combine that with a punt blunder in their end zone that gave Kennett the ball on the 2-yard line, and it was enough to leave coach Ryan Smith a little displeased.

“We were terrible,” Smith said. “They came together when they had to and did what they needed to do as a team to win the game, but the product we are putting out there right now is not good enough.”

Up 14-12 at half, Smith let his team have it in the locker room.

“Coach was ticked,” said Rashaad Shaw, who did a little bit of everything — throwing a pair of touchdowns out of the wildcat formation, catching a third, picking off a pass and adding a two-point conversion. “He sat us down in groups and told us to get our stuff together. He talked to the offensive line. He talked to the receivers. He wanted to make sure we kept our hands inside so we were blocking and not holding. It worked, and we were better in the second half.”

They were, but there was a lot of crazy in the second half — like a goal-line stand that wasn’t, a touchdown that wasn’t and an extra down.

Shaw seemed to score a touchdown on a goal-line plunge, but was ruled down before the line. He was also tackled by the face mask, which went uncalled.

However, the bad calls started rolling in Chichester’s favor later. After the Eagles defense pinned Kennett deep in their end, the Eagles converted on a fourth-and-goal when Shaw hit Shaheem Pleasant with a five-yard touchdown pass … except the pass bounced into Pleasant’s arms.

“Yeah, that was strange,” Shaw said. “When the ref put his arms up I was like, ‘Uh… OK.’”

That touchdown put the Eagles up 20-12. Following some more stingy defense, the Eagles got the ball back with 6:52 to play, and never gave it back.

Quarterback Andrew Rodriguez, who missed the second half of the opening win over Lower Merion, was solid, completing 68 percent of his passes for 157 yards. But the seal of victory was provided by the running game.

With starer Nate Resine leaving with a leg injury, the Eagles relied on a combo of Pleasant and Tymeir Bush, the latter of whom iced the game with a nifty deke on a third-down rush that should’ve been fourth down, but officials lost track of downs. That could have left Smith with a different decision.

Alas…

“All three of those guys are pretty complementary backs,” Smith said. “They all are talented, but this was a case where one guy went out and the other guys knew the team was counting on them to produce and they did. I guess that’s one thing I can be pretty pleased with in this game.”

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