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Rustin dominates on the ground, and on defense, in shutout of Oxford

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WESTTOWN >> At this time of the season, playoff time, you need your big players to make big time plays.

Friday night at a rain-soaked West Chester Rustin High School, one Golden Knight came up with a big interception that led to a touchdown and rushed the football for 96 yards on just nine carries and a score as Collin Hurley led the way in a 28-0 win over Oxford, in the first round of the District 1 Class 5A playoffs.

The Golden Knights will travel to play fourth-seeded Academy Park next Friday at 7 p.m., after the Knights beat Strath Haven, 21-20.

Hurley picked off Oxford (5-6) quarterback Brett Kochmansky late in the first quarker with the Golden Knights already holding a 7-0 lead. Kochmansky’s pass sailed a little and Hurley got in front of the Hornet receiver for the pick at the Oxford 33 before running it back to the Oxford 19 yard line.

“The ball sailed on him a little bit,” Hurley said. “I was expecting the dude in back of me to try to get in front of me, but he didn’t and I just caught the ball. We scored right after that so I thought it was a big play because it gave us more momentum.”

Momentum was something Rustin (8-2) had from the beginning of the game as the Golden Knights took the opening kickoff and went on a 66-yard, five-play drive, with Nick Madonna going the final 19 yards to make it 7-0. It was obvious from the beginning that the Golden Knights were intent on running the football.

The Oxford offense could not generate anything against the stout Rustin defense. The Golden Knights limited the Hornets to just 180 yards of total offense, as Rustin shut down Hornets running back Tim Faber, who rushed for 65 yards on 20 carries.

The Rustin defense forced six Oxford punts and the defense was led by Hurley, Sean Hopkins, Matt Robinson, Sean Durant (one sack), and Owen Walsh. Hopkins stuffed Faber for losses twice on Oxford fourth-down tries in the first half, giving the ball to the Golden Knights’ offense in good field position.

“We really had a great week of practice and we knew what players they were going to run,” Hopkins said. “We prepared really well and practiced hard. Practice makes perfect. And Collin’s interception was a huge momentum changer for our defense.”

Leading 14-0 after one period, the Golden Knights went to work again. The Golden Knights attempted just one pass in the wet conditions, but gained 325 yards on the ground. Hurley rushed for 96 yards, Michael Covert went for 106, and Madonna added 70 before leaving the game with a shoulder injury in the third quarter.

Rustin went on a 48-yard drive by ramming the ball right at the Oxford defense with counter plays and jet sweeps. Hurley broke two tackles on his 42-yard touchdown run and Rustin was in full command at halftime, 21-0.

Oxford still could not get anything going as Kochmansky was just four for eight with an interception in the air, and the stellar Faber was controlled by a ravenous Golden Knights defense. Covert added an eight-yard touchdown run late in the fourth quarter and the Golden Knights had a decisive win.

“These kids are great student athletes,” West Chester rRustin head coach Mike St. Clair said. “They study the gameplan and they execute it. They are also a very close group and that helps. They shut down what Oxford likes to do on offense tonight and it was a good win for us. Oxford was very physical tonight and they played hard.”

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