Westtown – Rolling up 387 total yards rushing on 46 carries, host West Chester Rustin ground out a 49-7 win against West Chester East Friday evening.
The Golden Knights (2-1) shared the wealth on the ground, with eight different ball carriers picking up yardage. Leading the way was junior Michael Covert, with 159 yards rushing on 12 carries.
“This is the way we like to play,” said Rustin head coach Mike St. Clair. “Run the ball, control the ball, punch the ball in. We had our power running game going tonight. Our staple play for the last 11 years has been the off-tackle, 32 power play, and it worked well tonight.”
One of the Golden Knights’ ball carriers Friday night, junior running back Collin Hurley, said, “Our offensive line was really focused and determined tonight, gave a good push. All of the yards we [running backs] got I give credit to our offensive line. They really worked together well tonight.”
Leading the way up front for the Rustin runners Friday night were junior RJ Cleveland, senior Jack Villone, junior Sean Durant, senior Dan Shoup and senior Rudy Ricciuti.
On the game’s opening drive, Rustin drove 79 yards on 12 plays (10 of them runs) for a touchdown. None of the plays were longer than 13 yards, and the drive culminated in a four-yard TD run by senior running back Nick Benoit.
Midway through the second quarter, West Chester East (0-3) tried to convert a 4th-and-1 at the 50 yard line and failed. The Golden Knights took over possession, and drove in for a touchdown in five plays, with Covert picking up most of the yardage, and Benoit bursting up the middle from 12 yards out for a touchdown to make it 14-0.
West Chester East came right back with a couple of big gains – a 36-yard run down the left sideline by sophomore running back Kyle Cichanowsky, and a 36-yard touchdown catch by junior wide receiver Michael Gray three plays later. On the TD throw, Viking junior quarterback Ryan Cassidy threw a pinpoint pass to Gray down the left sideline in the face of heavy pressure from Rustin. With 7:21 to go before halftime, West Chester East cut the hosts’ lead to 14-7.
The Golden Knights came right back to score on a 66-yard touchdown march – 10 straight running plays, with Covert gaining 55 yards on four rushes.
Leading 20-7 with 1:16 to go before halftime, West Chester Rustin took possession on the East 41 yard line after a 27-yard punt, and turned to its passing game to try to get a quick score before halftime – and succeeded once again.
Rustin junior QB Will Pileggi hit on four passes during the resulting touchdown drive – three of them sideline completions that didn’t take much time off the clock. The fourth completion was a perfectly-thrown pass to Hurley cutting across the middle at the goal line. Hurley had a defender on him, but Pileggi’s pass was right on target, and Hurley made a nice catch for a touchdown with 32 seconds left to make the score 27-7.
St. Clair noted, “We were able to throw a little bit more [tonight] to loosen up their defense.”
Rustin’s first possession in the third quarter resulted in a touchdown, in just two play. The Golden Knights started at their own 42 yard line, then Benoit ran for 19 yards, then Covert broke several tackles and worked his way downfield for a 39-yard touchdown to make it 34-7.
The Golden Knights scored again late in the third quarter on a 56-yard touchdown drive, composed of seven straight running plays.
Rustin’s final touchdown drive came late in the fourth quarter, a 68-yard march that consisted of nine consecutive running plays.
West Chester East head coach Scott Stephen said, “Hopefully, we learned tonight that, no matter what the score, our players need to keep encouraging one another – that sometimes in life, you’re going to get beat like this, but you’ve got to keep your head up. Each player needs to do his job out there, because if the 11th guy out there doesn’t do his job, it’s glaring.”
West Chester Rustin 49, West Chester East 7
West Chester East 0 7 0 0 — 7
West Chester Rustin 7 20 15 7 — 49
WCR – Benoit 4 run (Bosch kick)
WCR – Benoit 12 run (Bosch kick)
WCE – Gray 36 pass from Cassidy (Roth kick)
WCR – Pileggi 1 run (kick failed)
WCR – Hurley 14 pass from Pileggi (Bosch kick)
WCR – Covert 39 run (Bosch kick)
WCR – Kaliner 1 run (Benoit run)
WCR – Kaliner 5 run (Mattis kick)
First downs 5 23
Rushes-yards 16-5 46-387
Passing 9-21-0 6-13-0
Passing yards 97 61
Total yards 102 448
Punts 5-31.6 1-41
Fumbles-lost 0-0 0-0
Penalties-yards 4-46 12-93
Rushing — WCE: Cichanowsky 14-27; Cassidy 2–22. WCR: Covert 12-159, TD; Benoit 9-66, 2 TDs; Aloisio 6-48; Burke 4-48; Madonna 5-29; Hurley 2-14; Pileggi 3-5, TD; Kaliner 5-18, 2 TDs.
Passing — WCE: Cassidy 9-21-0, 97 yards, TD. WCR: Pileggi 6-13-0, 61 yards, TD.
Receiving — WCE: Gray 5-66, TD; Wileczek 2-14; Roth 1-17; Warner 1-0. WCR: Hopkins 2-17; Jones 2-16; Hurley 2-28, TD.