EAST MARLBOROUGH >> Three-peat, it has a nice ring to it.
The Unionville football team accomplished that lofty feat Friday night, completely dominating Great Valley, 41-14, to take its third consecutive Ches-Mont League American Division title. The Indians finished the regular season with a perfect 6-0 division record, 9-1 overall, and should, unofficially, head into next week’s District 1 Class 5A playoffs as the No. 3 seed and will host a first-round contest.
Unionville jumped out to a 14-0 lead after just one period as the Indians ran for 397 yards, 121 passing, and amassed 22 first downs as they took control of the game early and proved to be the class of the American again.
“It is a great feeling to win this title with this bunch of guys,” Unionville’s Joe Zubillaga said. “To win there times in a row is quite an accomplishment. We knew all the hard work we put into this would be worth it. “Tonight, we came out early and showed them we are the better team. We won this tile in dominating style.”
The first two scoring drives were of 80 and 90 yards, and showed the strength of the Unionville rushing attack. Zubillaga posted 143 yards on just 12 carries on the night, and Dante Graham busted out for 101 yards on 15 carries with three touchdowns. Many times, the Unionville runners carried Great Valley (5-1, 6-4) defenders with them on their backs for extra yardage.
Junior Joe Fariello came off the bench to rush for another 74 yards on four carries, including a huge third-down run in the third quarter to keep a drive alive.
Zubillaga ended the first drive with a 19-yard run around the left side for a touchdown. Graham capped the second march by pushing the pile into the end zone from six yards out for a 14-0 lead after one.
Unionville threatened late in the second, but Dom Braithwaite’s 39-yard field goal attempt hit the upright and bounced back to the field as the horn sounded for halftime.
Great Valley could not muster much offense all night as the Unionville defense, led by Alijah Woodall (10 solo tackles) and Sam Ross, was all over the field. Ross and Pablo Aviles also tortured the Great Valley offense. Great Valley tried many offensive formations, including a no-huddle, but it was all to no avail.
“I thought we did a real good job in coverage and at times, we got good pressure on their quarterback,” Unionville head coach Pat Clark said. “To win the title three years in a row is a testament to how hard the kids work and how much they put into this program. We get everybody’s best game week in and week out, so to win the league three years in a row is a great accomplishment for our kids.”
The third period saw a scoring explosion as the Indians took a 28-0 lead before Great Valley’s Owen Banavich brought a kickoff back 79 yards to make it a 28-7 game.
But, all that did was give Unionville the ball back and start another long, time-consuming drive. The Indians went 67 yards on eight plays with Graham busting through the middle for a three-yard run for a 34-7 lead.
“We knew coming in tonight that we were the better team,” Zubillaga said. “But, we needed to go out and execute and we did those things the coaches told us to do, and we dominated the game.”
Great Valley could only run the football for 57 yards. Quarterback Jake Prevost, who had a big game against West Chester Rustin last week in a 30-28 win, was under pressure all night as Unionville sacked him four times and made him hurry many of his throws.
“We did not want to be in a situation down 14-0,” Great Valley head coach Dan Ellis said. “But, they are a tough, physical team that likes to pound the football and Pat coaches them up. “We did not get it done tonight.”