Friday, October 12, 2012
Henderson rolls to big win over Rustin
By NATE HECKENBERGER
WESTTOWN -- As his teammates did their best to reassure him, all Spencer Rymiszewski could do was tap himself on his chest and tell his guys in the huddle, “my bad.”
But two plays after muffing a punt inside his own five-yard line late in the third quarter, Rymiszewski jabbed right off the snap, took a handoff going left and serpentined from the left sideline all the way across to the opposite pylon for a 96-yard, backbreaking score to exhaust much of the life left in West Chester Rustin.
And that wasn’t even the West Chester Henderson senior’s exclamation point.
Fourteen minutes later, on the play after losing a fumble in the red zone, Rymiszewski stepped in front of a Dave Fithian pass and started the Warriors’ celebration for good with a 15-yard pick six to finish their first win over the Golden Knights since 2007, 21-3, in the non-league contest at Rustin.
“This was the first win since I’ve been here, and it’s great for all the seniors,” Rymiszewski said. “This was the one thing we wanted this year, to get back at Rustin. They’re a great football team and we have great respect for them, and it feels good to get one on them.”
If Rymiszewski brought the big plays -- and he did with 187 rushing yards, three TDs and even the game-ending stuff of Adam Burke at the Henderson two -- his defensive mates stifled any thought of the Knights (4-2) winning their sixth straight in the rivalry.
Henderson (5-1) has now gone 11 quarters without allowing a touchdown, conceding just one score in the last 18. Rymiszewski had two interceptions, the first coming two plays after throwing an interception of his own. Any mistake the senior made he was able to make up tenfold.
“I knew I had to reconcile those for my boys,” Rymiszewski said. “Those stupid mistakes were on me. It was great to reward them for them blocking so hard and working so hard in practice. My dumb mistakes shouldn’t be put on them, so I had to come back and make a play.”
After forcing a three-and-out to start the game, Henderson marched 59 yards on 12 plays to take a 7-0 lead on a five-yard option TD by Rymiszewski. Rustin responded by moving 70 yards on 18 plays, but had to settle for a 27-yard field goal by Dylan Jenkins.
Both defenses clamped down the rest of the half, and the Knights appeared ready to snatch momentum when they had the Warriors pinned deep in their territory on a third-and-eight. But that was when Henderson coach Steve Mitten, and a little help from an old friend, found some magic on the counter to Rymiszewski for 96 yards.
“I have to give that one to (former Henderson coach) Joe (Walsh),” Mitten said. “Having him up in the box for me is a big comfort. He sees so much and has so much experience. That one was his. The first couple weeks he’d have his grandson run down at halftime to tell me to run counter, but he helped me out with that one up there (Friday night).”
Rustin, who tried to attack Henderson up the gut early with fullback Matt Lamberjack, found Warriors’ middle linebacker Adam Weaver waiting to scarf up tackles all night. And if backs did reach the second level, Chris and Phil Mitten laid big hit after big hit. That defensive trio seemed to be everywhere for the Warriors.
Burke, who entered the game with an area-high 19 touchdowns, was held to 63 yards, 33 of them coming on the second-to-last play of the game. Rustin sophomore Terry Loper was actually featured more throughout the game and finished with 45 yards on 11 carries.
“You’re not gonna keep a streak like that going, turning the ball over that much and missing tackles,” Rustin coach Mike St. Clair said of his team’s recent dominance over Henderson. “They’re too good of a team. Their linebackers and secondary are very good and they were able to control up front.”
The Knights had two chances to make it a game early in the fourth quarter. Down 14-3, Rustin marched 68 yards on 14 plays but was forced to try another field goal in the red zone. This time Weaver breached the protection and easily blocked the kick.
Rustin forced a three-and-out on the next drive, and on first down tried a halfback pass, which was tipped at the line by a Henderson lineman. The ball flailed in the air and into Rustin lineman Frank Hosking’s hands. But a split second later the ball was jarred away and Henderson pounced on the loose ball.
However, St. Clair was told by the referees that they ruled the pass was intercepted by the Warriors, much to the ire and befuddlement of the Knights’ sideline. St. Clair said “no comment” on the incident, but the turn of events clearly swung all remaining momentum back to the Henderson side.
Rymiszewski took it from there. He now has 527 yards and nine TDs on the ground, one punt return for a score and three touchdown passes on the season. And coach Steve Mitten couldn’t have been more proud, and maybe even relieved, of what his leaders pulled off.
“If you play good defense and just enough offense, you can go a long way,” Mitten said. “It’s funny, we’re in the same school district (as Rustin), but we’re in two different leagues and we always considered that a competitive advantage for them. This week we tried not to focus too much on that they play in the other league and we decided to go right at them and play physical football.”
West Chester Henderson 21, West Chester Rustin 3
West Chester Henderson 7 0 7 7 - 21
West Chester Rustin 0 3 0 0 - 3
WCH- Rymiszewski 5 run (Engle kick)
WCR- Jenkins 27FG
WCH- Rymiszewski 96 run (Engle kick)
WCH- Rymiszewski 15 interception return (Engle kick)
First downs 9 13
Yards rushing 254 168
Yards passing 0 47
Total yards 254 215
Passing 0-3-1 3-9-3
Fumbles-Lost 1-1 1-1
Penalties 7-56 2-9
Punts-Avg. 2-39.5 2-36
RUSHING - WCH: Rymiszewski 22-187, 2 TDs; Matonti 5-22; Bady 5-20; Weaver 3-17; Girafalco 4-8. WCR: Burke 12-63; Loper 11-45; Pernsley 9-37; Lamberjack 8-20; Fithian 5-3.
PASSING - WCH: Bady 0-2-0; Rymiszewski 0-1, INT. WCR: Fithian 3-8-47, 2 INTs; Kirk 0-1, INT.
RECEIVING - WCH: none. WCR: Walls 1-26; Hosking 1-13; Burke 1-8.
INTERCEPTIONS - WCH: Rymiszewski 2. WCR: Walls.
SACKS - WCH: White; C. Mitten .5, Medykiewicz .5. WCR: none.