WESTTOWN—Since the Ches-Mont merged with the Southern Chester County League back in 2007, the American division in football has been dominated by two teams—Rustin and Unionville. No other team had won the division until Friday night.
In a packed house under the lights at Rustin, the Golden Knights’ crosstown rival, West Chester East (7-2) ended the Rustin-Unionville era, with a 27-7 victory over Rustin (6-3), in a game that was not without controversy. It is the Vikings first Ches-Mont title since 2006.
“First time since 2006, this just feels awesome,” said Vikings’ linebacker Matthew Treon, who came up with a few big plays on defense. “It is the first time we’ve ever won on this field. For this senior class, it is just an amazing feeling. This whole class is so tight, it is really a brotherhood. On the field and off, this team is a family and I can’t wait to see how much further we can go.”
The Vikings got the ball first, and methodically moved the ball down field, mostly on runs, but sneaking a few passes in along the way. The end result was an 15 play, 80 yard drive,capped by a 17-yard run from John Wilecek, his only run of the contest. Not only did the Vikings take the early lead,the ate up eight minutes in doing so.
“It was huge opening the game like that,” said East coach Scott Stephen. “Controlling the clock and establishing a drive. We tend to be a big play offense, so that was important to be able to pull of a long drive like that against a good team in a big game.”
The Rustin defense did a pretty decent job of containing East running back Kyle Cichanowsky, the area’s leading rusher, holding the Viking workhorse to just 47 yards on 15 carries, and more importantly, out of the end zone. As a result, the Knights still had a chance to head to the locker room at halftime tied 7-7.
After forcing a three-and-out, the Knights took over in Vikings territory after a punt, and quickly moved inside the ten, getting a first and goal from the three. On third and inches, quarterback John Crispino lunged forward for an apparent touchdown, when all of a sudden the Vikings’ Yadyn Copper emerged from the scrum with the ball, and was brought down at the one.
“We had plenty of opportunities, and we didn’t get it done,” said Rustin coach Mike St. Clair. “We all thought we had one there, but the officials saw it differently.”
The Knights got the ball first in the second half, but the Vikings defense stepped up and made a a couple of big plays. Facing third and long, Crispino dropped back to pass. Treon ran him down in the back field, and knocked the ball loose, and teammate Mitch Zingani fell on it to give East possession at the Knights’34. Two plays later, quarterback Ryan Duell (6-8, 73 yards, TD) connected with Scott Cummings on an 11-yard touchdown.
“They were lined up in trips, and I was backside pretending I was playing coverage,”said Treon. “I blitzed last second and once I got through to the quarterback, I tried to punch the ball loose. Once we scored after that, the momentum seemed to be ours.”
East took advantage of a turnover on Rustin’s next possession as well, this time on a interception from Zingani, which led to Cichanowsky’s first TD of the day. Chichanowsky finished the night with 159 yards on 27 carries, and twice found the end zone.
“The defense played an absolutely unbelievable game,” said Stephen. “Rustin came in averaging a ton of yards on the ground. If you don’t have all eleven guys playing as a disciplined unit disciplined, Rustin is capable of making big plays. Coach Phillips does a great job with them,and even though they might get overlooked sometimes, they really came through today.”
Rustin finally got on the board in the fourth, when Nick Madonna (20 carries,82 yards) bulled one in from the one, and had a shot to pull within a touchdown with plenty of time on the clock on their next possession, but were stopped short on four straight runs from first and goal from the three, with the ball placed at the one-inch line twice.
“We did a good job on their running back, and it was a mostly even football game I would have liked to see go to overtime, but we didn’t get the scores,” said St. Clair. “We just have to put this behind us and get ready for a big game against Henderson next week, and then maybe we can get another shot at these guys in the playoffs.”
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