Rochwell, Gibson help Glen Mills finish strong

THORNBURY >> Glen Mills had some tough times over the course of this season, but the Battling Bulls found a way to close out a rugged campaign with consecutive wins, including a hard-fought 28-10 victory over Chichester Friday night at Jack Pearson Stadium.

While it may not always have been pretty, it was a satisfying ending for Glen Mills.

“It felt good to finish like we did,” said Battling Bulls running back Raisheem Rochwell, who finished the game with 87 yards and a touchdown. “(Coach Kevin Owens’s) goal was to go to 2-0 for our last two games and we accomplished that goal.”

To help pave the way for that strong finish, Glen Mills capitalized on a Chichester miscue when Battling Bulls defensive lineman Semaj Robinson pounced on an Eagles fumble. After Quadir Gibson bulled his way inside the 10-yard line, Glen Mills quarterback Javon Thomas punched the ball into the end zone with a 1-yard sneak for a touchdown and a 7-3 lead in the second quarter.

Just over four minutes later, Rochwell burst through the offensive line for a 13-yard scoring run that helped put the Battling Bulls up, 14-3.

Defensively, the Battling Bulls started to penetrate the Chichester offensive line midway through the second quarter and applied pressure to Eagles quarterbacks Andrew Rodriguez and Clarence Bowens. The Battling Bulls defensive front was causing havoc as linemen Brandon Goodwyn (two sacks) and Jermain Crew (one sack) were strong up front.

It was just the effort that Glen Mills needed to close out their season on a high note with a 3-6 record.

“We’ve got good running backs and our offensive line took control,” Rochwell said. “(The offensive line) was a lot more aggressive than they were in the beginning of the season.”

Gibson, the other half of the Glen Mills talented backfield, took advantage of another Chichester fumble as he barreled into the end zone for a 3-yard touchdown with 8:25 to go in the third quarter for a 20-3 lead.

“It feels great to finish like this,” said Gibson, who finished with 81 yards. “I think we could have achieved like this earlier in the season, but everyone wasn’t mentally ready. Once we had that losing streak, everyone started working hard in practice and got that mentality we needed.”

After Chichester clawed back into the game behind a 4-yard touchdown run by Kevin Miller, Glen Mills return man Keon Rantin raced 93-yards on the ensuing kickoff return to extend the Glen Mills lead to 28-10.

Rochwell and Gibson supplied the necessary grit to grind down Chichester. The duo combined for 168 yards to help keep the Eagles at bay and secure the victory. The effectiveness of Gibson and Rochwell may stem from their history together as Pop Warner teammates playing for the Northwest Raiders in Philadelphia.

“We improved each game and just got better by the end of the season,” Gibson said.

On the other sideline it was more frustration than jubilation. Chichester started out strong, but hurt itself with penalties and fumbles, which led to inconsistent play. Austin Wilson was a bright spot for the Eagles and drilled a 24-yard field goal, but Chichester could not build off its early 3-0 lead.

“We shot ourselves in the foot with some fluke penalties, uncharacteristic turnovers, and gave them a little bit of leverage going into halftime,” said Eagles coach Ryan Smith. “In the second half we played them tough, but you can’t have the kickoff return (for a touchdown) happen.”

Chichester is slated to host Avon Grove next Friday before closing out its season against Sun Valley on Thanksgiving in Aston.

“We’re going to lean on our leaders the rest of the way,” Smith said. “We’ve got a good group of seniors. We’re going to put the ball in their court. We’re going to talk a lot about the journey and how to finish the journey. Once we discuss that, things will take care of themselves.”

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