Henderson defense stymies Shanahan as Warriors improve to 5-1

WEST CHESTER – Bryan White admitted the mindset for the West Chester Henderson defense is to play every game as if they are playing for the Ches-Mont title.

The Warriors’ defense certainly played at a championship level Friday night. It all started with White in the trenches.

“We just did everything we had to do to go the extra mile,’ White said. “We were really focused this week in practice and have our mind set each game that we have to get what we want to get. That’s what were shooting for.’

White and the Henderson defense limited Bishop Shanahan to 148 total yards as the Warriors built an early lead en route to a 21-7 victory over the Eagles in a Ches-Mont National Division game at J. Oscar Dicks Stadium.

The win kept Henderson (2-0 league, 5-1 overall) in a first-place tie with Coatesville, a 15-9 winner over Downingtown East, for the division lead. Shanahan (1-2 league, 4-2 overall) dropped its second straight game after winning four straight to start the season.

Henderson’s defense compiled four sacks in the game and held Shanahan dual-threat quarterback Danny Murphy to 125 total yards (65 passing, 60 rushing).

With Henderson up 14-0 in the second quarter, Murphy converted the Eagles’ longest play of the night: a 30-yard run. On the next play, a bad snap caused Murphy to lose 19 yards as he was scampering to rid himself of the football.

That’s how Shanahan’s night went on the offensive side of the ball. The Eagles also had a total of nine penalties for 71 yards.

“Penalties absolutely killed us,’ Shanahan coach Paul Meyers said. “You can’t beat a good football team when you have that many penalties. If we don’t have those penalties we can sustain drives, which could force them to change their philosophy. At the same time, they shut down our playmakers. Give them credit.’

One of those playmakers was Pat Corcoran, who came into the game with 161 receiving yards and a pair of touchdowns in two games since returning to the Eagles. He was held to just five catches for 18 yards.

Once again, the Warriors defense eliminated the big play. According to Jack Dingfelder, who finished with a sack, that was the game plan.

“We just did our best to hold Corcoran and Murphy in,’ Dingfelder said. “Our corners and safeties did a heck of a job tonight. We had to focus on shutting them down and we did that.’

There was another game plan Henderson accomplished that dictated the game. The Warriors got out to an early lead.

On Henderson’s second drive, Matt Dinacci completed two passes for 40 yards which set up his 22-yard touchdown run to give the Warriors a 7-0 lead.

Henderson forced a three-and-out on the ensuing Shanahan drive. Noah Richard responded by returning Jerry Riccardo’s punt 58 yards for a touchdown, which set the Warriors up with a 14-0 lead after the first quarter.

Getting the early lead was huge for Tre Green, who finished with 27 carries for 126 yards and a touchdown on the night.

“When we take that lead, we start to feel ourselves,’ Green said. “We have a complete defense this year and they took it from there.’

Henderson controlled the first half, but only headed into the locker room with a one score lead.

Riccardo’s fourth punt of the half hit the leg of Nick Rizzo at the three-yard line. Shanahan recovered the loose ball at the one and Nick Pasvanis scored on the ensuing play to make it 14-7.

“We made mistakes to get them back into the game,’ said Henderson coach Steve Mitten. “When we made mistakes, they (Shanahan) capitalized. I told the guys we’re going to do what we do in the second half and we’re going to come out on top.’

What Henderson did was what they do best, run the football.

The Warriors attempted one pass play in the second half with that one-score lead, which turned into a disaster. Dinacci’s pass at the Shanahan 7 was intercepted by Mike Sprague and returned to midfield, but a penalty negated the interception.

Two plays later, Green scored from a yard out to give Henderson a 21-7 lead late in the third quarter. From there, the Warriors could run out the clock with their veer option attack.

Henderson has won four in a row since its overtime loss to West Chester Rustin in week two. White and the Warriors’ defense hope they can keep the streak going in the second half of the season.

“All our wins are good, hard wins,’ White said. “We’re been learning from them and we hope to keep the ball rolling.’

“We got a lot of work to do,’ said Brian Armstrong. “The National is a tough division. You have to bring it every single week no matter who the opponent is. We have to just keep bringing it every single night.’

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