WESTTOWN — The way Kennett’s Jake Dilcher plays quarterback, it’s likely neither opposing coaches nor his own know what’s going to happen when he drops back to pass.
Everything is under control until the ball is snapped, and then Dilcher figures it out from there.
Dilcher was a terror all night, but West Chester Rustin’s multi-dimensional rushing attack was a little more potent, and after an explosive 48 minutes, the Golden Knights walked away 50-35 winners in the season finale, at home.
Rustin (4-2 division, 6-4 overall) rushed for 348 yards and Ty Pringle and Nick Benoit reached the century mark to propel the Knights into the postseason with a win.
“We’ve had a lot of tight games all year that could’ve gone either way,” Rustin coach Mike St. Clair said. “We were able to make some plays in the second half to stop (Kennett). That quarterback is a magician back there. He’s a game-changer.”
The game got off to a blistering start with three touchdowns in the first eight plays from scrimmage.
Ty Pringle raced 25 yards on Rustin’s second play to give it a 7-0 lead 43 seconds in.
Dilcher, who finished with 313 yards and three scores, hit Kosara on Kennett’s second play for a 78-yard reception and then snuck from two yards out the next play for the score.
Following a 54-yard kick return by Pringle, Will Pileggi put Rustin back on top with a 17-yard TD scamper.
“It was really fun,” Pringle said. “It was a close game so that pushed us harder. We knew we had to score some points.”
Pringle gave Rustin a 21-8 lead late in the second quarter with a 13-yard run, but back came Dilcher, guiding the Blue Demons (1-5, 3-7) back down the field. Garrett Cox ran in from nine yards out with 95 seconds left in the half to make it 21-15.
On the opening possession of the second half, Kennett used a 13-play, 84-yard drive, capped by a seven-yard reception by Dan Mancini from Dilcher on fourth-and-four, to give Kennett its first lead, 22-21.
“When you watch (Dilcher) on film, stepping up in the pocket is not in his repertoire,” Kennett coach Josh Kauffman said. “I’m a variable coach and I’ll work with what a player does well. When he gets on the perimeter he can make anything happen and he has good vision down the field. I thought he did a good job spreading the ball around.”
Rustin’s ground game couldn’t be stopped, and after 10 straight runs, Pileggi found a wide open Michael Covert for a 23-yard touchdown pass on third-and-10 to regain the lead.
Kennett marched right back, and took a 29-28 lead when Dilcher connected with Mitch Kosara in the front corner of the end zone. Kosara finished the night with seven receptions for 161 yards.
“(Dilcher) ad-libs,” St. Clair said. “You try to keep him in the pocket with a four-man rush, but he buys time. He’s a nightmare.”
Rustin took over from there, and Benoit gave the Knights the lead for good with a 35-yard TD run. JT Aloisio tacked on an 11-yard TD run the next possession, and Benoit added another from 14 yards out to stretch the lead to 21 points.
“We have a four-headed monster,” St. Clair said. “JT is a bull back who gets tough, hard yards. Pringle, Benoit and (Michael) Covert are very, very quick and shifty and they gave us nice gains and kept drives going.”
Kennett got one last score when Kosara pulled in Dilcher’s third TD pass of the night with a few ticks left on the clock.
It appears time ran out on Kennett’s postseason chances as well, as a loss by Glen Mills, which didn’t happen, may have gotten them in.
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