By DENNIS C. WAY
WHITEMARSH — Sometimes it’s not how many possessions, but what you do with the possessions you get.
West Chester Henderson did little in the way of compiling yardage or time of possession in Friday night’s nonleague football game against host Plymouth Whitemarsh.
In fact, the Colonials doubled the Warriors’ yardage total and time of possession in the first half.
But while Henderson cashed in touchdowns on three of its first four trips into PW territory, the Colonials spent the night rolling up yards and then stopping themselves with mistakes.
By game’s end, the Colonials won the battle of yardage, but the Warriors won where it counts, taking their third straight to open the year, 21-13.
Garrett Girafalco ran for a touchdown in the final 15 seconds of the first half, then set up a fourth-quarter touchdown with a 52-yard run as the Warriors, fueled by the emotion following the death of volunteer coach Jim Smith last week, came from behind to earn the hard-fought victory.
“We lost a member of our family,” said first-year head coach Steven Mitten after an emotional postgame meeting with his team. “The kids dedicated their work to him this week, and this win was a tribute to him.
“Sometimes when you have something like this happen, it can either be a positive or a negative.”
Friday, the Warriors turned their grief into a focused effort that left the Colonials staring at their first setback of the season.
And Henderson wasted little time getting it going.
After stopping PW’s initial drive and taking over at their own 37, the Warriors got tricky on their first snap, with Spencer Rymiszewski taking a pitch from quarterback James Bady and finding Phil Mitten all alone behind the secondary. Sixty-three yards later, the visitors were on top.
“We knew we were going to need a big play,” Coach Mitten said, “and we tried to get one early.”
Taking over at his own 40 to begin the ensuing drive, Bady hit Rymiszewski for 34 yards to gain a first down at the PW 26.
Five plays later, Girafalco bucked in from the five, and Henderson was ahead to stay.
Girafalco’s 52-yard burst up the middle on the first play of the fourth quarter led to Rymiszewski’s 5-yard touchdown six plays later. And with 9:02 left, Henderson was on top by eight.
W.C. Henderson 21, PW 13
Henderson 7 7 0 7 - 21
Ply.Whitemarsh 0 13 0 0 - 13
WCH - P. Mitten 63 pass from Rymiszewski (Engle kick)
PW - Kelly 8 run (Goldberg kick)
PW - Brown 65 run (kick failed)
WCH - Girafalco 5 run (Engle kick)
WCH - Rymiszewski 5 run (Engle kick)
First Downs 10 20
Rushing Yards 31-179 50-301
Passing Yards 119 62
Totals Yards 298 363
Passing 4-9-1 8-12-1
Penalties 6-51 7-52
Fumbles lost 0-0 3-2
Punts-Avg. 5-31.0 2-29.5
RUSHING – HENDERSON: Girafalco 9-102, 1 TD; Bady 10-30; C.Mitten 4-27; Rymiszewski 6-22, 1 TD; Dinacci 2-(-2). PLYMOUTH WHITEMARSH: Kelly 22-158, 1 TD; Brown 15-142, 1 TD; Giorgio 11-2; Afflick 2-(-1).
PASSING – HENDERSON: Bady 3-8-1 int., 56 yds.; Rymiszewski 1-1-0 ints., 63 yds., 1 TD. PLYMOUTH WHITEMARSH: Giorgio 8-12-1 int., 62 yds.
RECEIVING –HENDERSON: P.Mitten 3-85, 1 TD; Rymiszewski 1-34. PLYMOUTH WHITEMARSH: Kelly 4-45; Custus 3-11; Tucker 1-6.
INTERCEPTIONS – HENDERSON: Lott. PLYMOUTH WHITEMARSH: Brown.
SACKS – HENDERSON: Weaver; C.Mitten; Delaney. PLYMOUTH WHITEMARSH: None.