East Whiteland >> Coming into Great Valley on a six-game winning streak and ranked No. 1 in the current PIAA District 1 5A football rankings, West Chester Rustin rolled to a 42-0 win Friday evening.
The Golden Knights (7-1) relied on tough defense and a powerful running game – they piled up 203 yards in 30 carries in the first half – to build a 28-0 halftime lead.
“I thought we played a really good game tonight, we were battling a lot of injuries and sickness this week, and had some kids playing different positions tonight,” said West Chester Rustin football head coach Mike St. Clair. “They worked out our game plan very well – Great Valley had a lot of guys up front, trying to stop the run, and we were able to move the ball a little bit.”
The Golden Knights took the opening kickoff and relied on its running attack in the Wing-T formation to move the ball down to the Great Valley 26 yard line before a fumble gave the ball back to the Patriots.
Great Valley went three-and-out and punted to the Rustin 35 yard line. The Golden Knights then punched away with six consecutive running plays for 65 yards and a touchdown.
Just two plays after the opening touchdown, Rustin freshman defensive back Chase Hatton intercepted a Great Valley pass at midfield and returned it to the Patriots’ 22 yard line. Four running plays later, Rustin senior running back Dayshawn Jacobs bolted into the end zone for a touchdown and a 14-0 Golden Knight lead in the first quarter.
On Rustin’s next possession, a 13-play, 70-yard touchdown drive, the Golden Knights went for the first down successfully twice on fourth-and-1, the first time succeeding on a 6-yard quarterback sneak by Kolbe Freney at midfield. When Jacobs plunged into the end zone from the 1 yard line, Rustin led 21-0.
Five plays later, Rustin’s 6-foot-1, 230-pound senior Anthony Meadows picked off a Great Valley pass and returned it for a 45-yard touchdown to give the visitors a 28-0 halftime lead. Meadows finished the night with two interceptions.
“I’ve never seen a prettier pick than that one,” said St. Clair. “Anthony is just a beast in the middle. Our whole defense just plays great as a team. Jaysin Huynh played a real good game at defensive tackle. Our defensive ends, Chris Yanko and Collin Markoski, did a good job on the edge. And Chase Hatton, for a freshman he’s phenomenal – once he intercepts the ball, he turns into a running back. I don’t know if there’s a better safety around than our free safety, Daimon Jacobs – he hits, he covers, he’s the complete package.”
Leading the way for the Rustin running attack was Dayshawn Jacobs, who by halftime had 137 rushing yards on 18 carries.
“Dayshawn’s a threat anytime he touches the ball,” said St. Clair. “But I think we had the fullbacks, Anthony Meadows and Chris Yanko, really running hard tonight. When they’re taking away the flanks, we were able to pound it up the middle pretty effectively.
“Our offensive line did a great job. We were missing a couple of our starters tonight, and the guys who stepped in did a great job. CJ Fisher, who’s our defensive tackle, got thrown in to play offensive tackle for the first time this year and he was able to hold his own. Jack Shoup, the other tackle, did a really good job. [Sophomore] Aaron Meadows did a great job at guard, too.”
Great Valley, trailing 28-0, took the second half kickoff and moved the ball down to the Rustin 10 yard line, keyed by some solid running by senior quarterback Andy Talone and four pass completions by Talone for 51 yards. But the drive ended at the 10 yard line.
Late in the third quarter, Anthony Meadows’ second pass interception gave the Golden Knights the ball at the Great Valley 32, and when Dayshawn Jacobs scored on a 5-yard run to the left side, Rustin led 35-0.
With 4:07 to play, Rustin freshman David McClain scored on a 13-yard run to the right side to give the Golden Knights a 42-0 lead.
For host Great Valley (3-6), Friday evening was Senior Night. It was the final home game of the regular season for the Patriots, who were ranked No. 16 in District 1 5A coming into this game.
“Rustin’s an incredible football team,” said Great Valley head coach Jeff Martin. “What I ask of my guys is that they compete, and I feel that they competed tonight until the end of the game. Offensively, we struggled getting things going but I think we did some things well defensively, I thought we played pretty well defensively. Unfortunately we gave up three turnovers and you can’t give anyone the ball three extra times, let alone Rustin.
“I’m hopeful that maybe we can squeak into the playoffs and learn from playing a great football team, and be prepared against whoever we play in the first round, because if we do slip in and play the first round, it’s going to be someone like Rustin or Unionville or Strath Haven.
“I’m proud of the way our kids played tonight, and this is a great senior class. We have a few guys who might play at the next level – Jake Snyder, Andy Talone, Brandon May, Cullen McDaniel. Cullen’s one of those kids who’s like an unsung hitter, he’s in on every single tackle.”
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