West Chester Rustin Preview: Knights have the talent to make up for losses

WESTTOWN >> West Chester Rustin enters its 10th season and has averaged just over nine wins each fall.
The Golden Knights’ ability to reload and develop talent each year is one of the keys to their consistent success, and that will be put to the test once again in 2015.
Rustin will be without its program’s leading rusher, Terry Loper, as well as its top offensive lineman, Ray Bordley. Loper graduated, while Bordley transferred to IMG Academy.
“It’s a little bigger challenge,” Rustin coach Mike St. Clair said. “We have to replace the whole offensive line and almost the entire backfield. There’s a lot more learning going on this year than in years past. They’ve worked really hard all summer and are in great shape.”
As is typically the case, Rustin still will have good size up front and will build around returning starter at center, Pat Durant, and guard Isaiah Spriggs. Edem Asuma will take Bordley’s spot at tackle.
“Any time you lose a two-year starter it hurts the team’s depth, with (Bordley’s) size and experience,” St. Clair said. “We have a good replacement. (Asuma) doesn’t as much size but he has a little more speed.”
Four starters return on both sides of the ball and that includes quarterback and cornerback Evan Wlock. In his first year as a starter Wlock only attempted 70 passes, but amassed 610 yards and 11 touchdowns and threw as many interceptions as he intercepted on defense, two.

Nate Heckenberger - 21st Century Media Evan Wlock threw 11 touchdowns with only two interceptions as a junior and also picked off two passes playing cornerback for West Chester Rustin.
Nate Heckenberger – 21st Century Media
Evan Wlock threw 11 touchdowns with only two interceptions as a junior and also picked off two passes playing cornerback for West Chester Rustin.

With Wlock and fullback Steve Franks, the wing-T is set up for its standard game-controlling style. Sophomore running back Ty Pringle is the prized underclassmen that has drawn comparisons to Loper and former Golden Knight Rondell White.
It may take some time to make people forget about Loper, but St. Clair has a good track record of raising up star backs.
“It’s hard to replace what Terry gave us,” St. Clair said. “We have a good, young running back group and they all can carry the ball. We’ll be a little more diversified than in years past.”
While St. Clair was slow to gush over any potential in Pringle, Wlock and his teammates are eager to see him in action.
“I’m excited to see what he can do,” Wlock said. “He’s very fast when he hits the hole. He has a lot of talent and I think he’ll be very good. Terry was a little bigger I think, but as always, the O-line is the key to success.”
As much as Rustin’s offensive lines have kept the train rolling, the defense deserves the same credit.
The 14.5 points per game given up in the regular season by Rustin’s defense last season were the most since the inaugural season in 2006.
“We have youth on offense, but our strength is hopefully on defense,” St. Clair said. “We have decent size and good speed and strength and a lot of depth on the defensive line.”
Durant at defensive end and Spriggs at nose tackle start things off for the Golden Knights, and Isaac Williams gives them the size.
Alex Rotelli brings experience to the outside linebacker position.
Rustin will get a challenge in week one with a long trip to Harry S. Truman, before coming home for the West Chester series against East and Henderson. The final non-league opponent will be the Ches-Mont crossover game at Coatesville in the season finale.
“We’re excited for it,” Wlock said. “We kind of like the opportunity we have. Everyone is, not really counting us out, but sleeping on us. I think we have a good team and we can be good just like always.”


Coach: Mike St. Clair
Last season: 10-2 overall, 6-0 American Division
Key players: Evan Wlock, Sr., QB/CB; Pat Durant, Sr., C/DE; Isaiah Spriggs, Sr., G/NT; Alex Rotelli, Sr., OLB; Steve Franks, Sr., FB; Ty Pringle, Soph., RB
Outlook: Rustin lost a few big names, but haven’t lost more than four games in a season since 2006. The Golden Knights have talent to fill in the gaps, including sophomore running back Ty Pringle, who comes with plenty of high expectations. With a lot of turnover in the American Division, the championship will have to be taken from Rustin, who is once again the favorite.

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