All-Area POTY Terry Loper Loper proved himself — over and over

West Chester Rustin’s Terry Loper had a lot to deal with coming into his senior season — high expectations, teams focusing solely on stopping him and trying to attract college attention.

That could be too much for many teenagers, but that was just how the star running back wanted it. It meant Loper would get the chance to prove himself each game.

And he did just that.

“I sort of expected it, based on his tenth and eleventh-grade years,’ Rustin coach Mike St. Clair said. “If it didn’t happen, I would’ve been a little disappointed. I’m glad it worked out the way it did.’

In a season in which a star-studded senior class took the Ches-Mont league to prominence in District 1, Loper was the brightest of them all. For that he is the Daily Local News All-Area Football Player of the Year.

Loper rushed for 2,227 yards and 27 touchdowns, leading the Golden Knights to a first-round playoff win and a 10-2 record.

“It’s definitely a very cool thing,’ Loper said of the honor. “It’s a big deal for me and the whole team and for what the offensive line did. I feel it’s deserving, not to come off cocky, but because all the hard work paid off.’

Loper broke the Rustin rushing record previously held by Rondell White, finishing his career with 4,758 yards and 55 TDs.

His 284-yard performance against Conestoga in the first round of the playoffs was his ninth career 200-yard game, and he finished with two over 300 and 22 100-yard games in his three seasons.

“It means a lot for me and for the O-line,’ Loper said. “I couldn’t have done it without them and we left our mark at Rustin.

“I’ve been playing with them since eighth grade and it’s not even like I see them as friends or teammates. I legitimately look at them like brothers.’

Ray Bordley, Christos Moscharis, Sean Weaver, Pat Durant, Phil Vecchiolli and tight end Matt Hosking led the way for Loper and the other backs.

Rustin led the area in rushing per game with 313.1 yards in 12 games. Loper played in 11 games, averaging 22.3 carries per game in a wing-T offense that had typically spread the ball out more in the past.

“With the type of team we had, we knew we were gonna give him the ball 25-30 times a game,’ St. Clair said. “We were gonna live or die with him and luckily we won more than we lost.’

Loper said he plans to study business finance in college, but has yet to decide where he’ll attend and play football. Duquesne and Maine have offered him scholarships, and Coastal Carolina has shown interest of late. Loper said those would be his top three picks.

“Academically, my goal is to be a college scholar,’ Loper said. “With football, it’s all about gaining character and improving as a player. I want to my leave my mark there, too.’

Rustin went 28-6 in the three years Loper was on the team. The Golden Knights haven’t had less than nine wins since 2007, so the expectations will remain high even without him.

But just as it seemed nearly impossible to replace White a few years ago, Rustin will find a way to make up for the loss of Loper. There may be another dandy on the way, even.

For St. Clair, having a horse to hand the ball off to and let win games is something he’ll never take for granted.

“You can never replace Terry,’ St. Clair said. “It leaves a big hole in our leadership, in the school and on the football field. He is a dynamic player and the kids coming up behind him will have to try to live up to that.’

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