WESTTOWN>> Late in the third quarter, West Chester Rustin’s Michael Covert would go in motion before the snap and then take a handoff to the outside from Will Pileggi. From the 14-yard line, Covert would plant hard with his left foot and take it straight into the end zone as multiple Octorara Braves tried to dive at his feet in an attempt to bring him down.
As Covert celebrated in the end zone, the excitement was instantly brought to an end. The official threw a flag during the play for holding. As the officials walked down to the 24-yard line, many Octorara players were still in the end zone. Some were hunched over, some with their hands on their hips and some like Jude Unitis, sitting on both knees and in utter disbelief that the Braves were down by so much.
The touchdown being called back didn’t actually matter, Nick Benoit would go on to score two plays later and the Braves would just go through the motions awaiting the final whistle.
The 2-2 Octorara Braves faced off against the 3-1 West Chester Rustin Golden Knights in a Ches-Mont League American Division game on Friday night. Looking to rebound from a blowout lost to Avon Grove last week, the Braves were met by another blowout loss to the Golden Knights in Westtown. The Golden Knights would go on to win the matchup 56-7 and improve to 4-1 for the season and 2-0 in Ches-Mont League play.
“I feel good,” said coach St. Clair. “It’s always nice to come out with a win. We were able to play pretty good football in all three phases; offense, defense and special teams. Coach Jeb and Octorara do a really good job down there so, we were happy to get a win. We prepared to go against their 3-5 defense. Defensively, we wanted to shut down their perimeter game which we were able to do and contain their quarterback.”
Heading into this week’s matchup, the Golden Knights employed the third ranked defense and fifth ranked offense in the Ches-Mont League and by the end of the first quarter both sides were firing on all cylinders.
Offensively, the Golden Knights got hot fast. Ty Pringle scored on the first two drives for West Chester Rustin by running in a pair of touchdowns. One from two-yards out and a 31-yard run off the left side of the offensive line.
Pringle, Covert and Benoit were the work horses for the offense and were main reasons why every West Chester Rustin possession ended in a touchdown.
After a Collin Hurley punt return set up the Golden Knights within the red zone, Pileggi would find Sean Hopkins for 18-yard touchdown and push the score to 21-0 before the end of the first quarter. The Golden Knights would slightly take their foot off the pedal in the second quarter, by only scoring twice. Covert and Pileggi would both find the promise before the end of the half.
The rushing attack accounted for 200 yards and four touchdowns for the Golden Knights just in the first half.
“We look to run the ball every week,” said coach St. Clair. “We have a plethora of running backs that anyone can take the ball the distance, which makes us pretty dangerous. So, we always look to run first and set up the pass and I think we did that tonight.
Defensiviely, the Golden Knights only allowed four first downs, 69 yards of total offense and accounted for five sacks, and a fumble recovery. The Braves couldn’t do anything. J.T. Alosio provided pressure the entire game and accounted for four of the five sacks in the first half.
“A lot of the times my tackles did a great job by taking that backside blocker away from me,” said Alosio. “I was able to chase down a lot. My other defensive end did a great job at pulling the quarterback so I could chase him down. I got a lot of my sacks from the backside It was phenomenal. Great coverage down the field allowed me to get pressure. He had to hold the ball for a long time, some of them were more than five or six seconds in the pocket.”
“J.T. is a great football player,” said coach St. Clair.” He’s one of the strongest players out there and one of the fastest. I don’t know if he had six or seven sacks tonight, but he is all over the field. He is just an awesome kid out there and a leader.”
The second half was much like the first, however, West Chester Rustin had a clear want to just run out the rest of the clock. The score by Benoit would pushed the score to 42-0 and at the end of third quarter, coach St. Clair sent in his backups.
Despite the score being way out of reach and the backups being in, the offense was still efficient and added two more touchdowns before the night was over. Nick Madonna would run it in from 25-yards out and Tom Dougherty would eclipse that by running in the last touchdown of the night from 51-yards out.
“It feels great to keep it going,” said Aloisio. “We started off with a lost, but now we have four in a row. It feels good to keep it going. We looked a little sluggish offensively, but next week and even in the future we have to bounce back. A couple of little things like outside contain we have to step up on and be ready for next week.”
“We have our work cut out for us next week going against Coatesville,” said coach St. Clair. “We’re going to have to have a real strong week of practice. We’re going to have to eliminate the penalties and we’re going to have to play solid football to have a chance over there next week.”