WESTTOWN >> The West Chester Rustin football program has seen a lot of success since the school’s inception in 2006.
The Golden Knights have won multiple Ches-Mont League American Division titles, a District 1 Class 5A title and are always one of the top teams in the 5A bracket.
They have a saying around the team: “Tradition Never Graduates.” It is something the players for the Golden Knights embrace fully and head coach Mike St. Clair says is very real around the Rustin program.
“Once graduation time hits, the current juniors know it is now their time and they do not want to be the senior class to let down and not be successful,” St. Clair said. “We are a very disciplined program. We have three main goals going into the season every year and the kids know it. To win the West Chester games, to win the Ches-Mont championship, and to get into the playoffs. The kids so far have really done a great job holding up their end of the bargain.”
The 2020 edition of Golden Knights football may look like a lot of earlier Rustin teams. The Golden Knights feel like they are set at the skill positions, with many returning starters from last year’s team that advanced to the District 1 semifinals before losing to Academy Park, 21-20, in heartbreaking fashion.
“We have most of our skill players returning, we have two offensive linemen back and on defense our linebackers and secondary are back,” St. Clair said. “The defensive line lost some quality kids and that is a question mark for us right now.”
One of those returning skill players is senior running back Drew Gallen, who has elite speed, running the 40-yard dash in 4.4 seconds. Quarterback John Crispino, a senior, is also back, and St. Clair says he likes the decision making of his senior signal-caller. Up front, the Golden Knights feature John Shallo and 6-foot-4, 300-pound Matt Maiorano, who will lead the Rustin offensive line.
Defensively, the Golden Knights feature senior linebacker Anthony Meadows, who is one of the top tacklers in the Ches-Mont League, and the secondary features three returning starters. The defensive front is an issue where St. Clair said depth may be an issue.
“I feel good about our defense, but like I said, we lost some quality up front from last year but we have some talented kids who are working hard and they are progressing well.”