[tps_title]West Chester Rustin Golden Knights [/tps_title]
Steady Golden Knights hope to stay in the hunt with new names
WESTTOWN >> They have a saying around the West Chester Rustin football program: “Tradition Never Graduates.”
It has been the rallying cry of Golden Knights football since head coach Mike St. Clair started the program back in 2006. And it applies to West Chester Rustin football again this season. The defending Ches-Mont League American Division champions aim to be back in the same old spot at the top of the division at season’s end.
“We really get our kids to buy in to what we are doing in the ninth grade,” St. Clair said. “And they know what to expect if they want to play football, and they know what is asked of them. And they know we will be a wing-T team. We adapt to our talent in that we may pass a little more some years or go power if need be, but we will always be a wing-T team.
“And the kids know that our goals every year are to win West Chester, win the Ches-Mont League and make the playoffs,” St. Clair said.
St. Clair feels the strength of this Golden Knights squad will be the depth and talent at the running back spot. With seniors Tommy Dougherty, Drew Gallen, Nick Madonna and junior Alex Pratzner all ready to carry the ball, the running game out of the wing-T should be in great shape.
According to St. Clair, the quarterback position is still up in the air, and will be a late camp decision.
“We had a two-year starter in Will Pileggi graduate and he was very good,” St. Clair said. “He will be tough to replace but we have some guys competing for the job and we feel good about those kids competing.”
Opening up running lanes for those talented backs will be up to a young offensive line with four new starters, including returning senior Jason Thornton. Rustin always seems to find big guys who can block or tackle, and returning senior starter Matt Montgomery will have to step up to replace the graduated and very talented Sean Hopkins, who was the leader of the Rustin defense. Montgomery is 6-foot-2, 220 pounds and is a relentless pass rusher.
“We have a lot of guys to replace on defense and on the O-line but we really feel we have the talent to do that,” Montgomery said. “We just feel we can keep the guys coming year after year and we feel good about the young guys and we are confident they will step up.”
The Golden Knights start the 2019 season with a Ches-Mont American Division road test at Sun Valley, and will play Coatesville, Avon Grove and Chichester non-league games.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Tommy Dougherty >> Running back
The Golden Knights senior is a very speedy back and he should thrive in Rustin’s Wing- T offense.
Matt Montgomery >> Linebacker
Montgomery absolutely tortures opposing quarterbacks as his four sacks in 2018 shows and he is bigger and stronger coming into the 2019 season.
By Pete DiGiovanni; email@example.com