By BILL RUDICK
WEST GOSHEN-- As the season winds down, one though occupies the West Chester Rustin football team -- winning out and getting to the playoffs. The Golden Knights took one step in the right direction Saturday afternoon, showing the up-and-coming Oxford program that it still had some ground to cover to reach the upper levels of the Ches-Mont League American Division.
The Golden Knights (3-1, 6-2) jumped out to big first-half lead and coasted to a 48-0 pasting of the Hornets (1-4, 4-4).
“Oxford has some good athletes on that team, and they have been making plays all year,” said Rustin coach Mike St. Clair. “Fortunately, we made some plays and got the early momentum. (Oxford coach) Mike Pietlock has them playing hard, and they can’t be taken lightly.”
After holding the Hornets to a three-and-out on the first possession of the game, Rustin took over at the Oxford 35. Six plays later, they were in the end zone as quarterback Dave Fithian sneaking in from the one.
The first big break in the game came with Rustin up 14-0. With Oxford punting from its own end zone, Rustin blocked the kick, and Jordan Miller covered the loose ball just in front of the end line for the score.
From there, Rustin went to the ground attack behind sophomore Terry Loper, who led all rushers with 154 yards on the afternoon, including a 55-yard burst for a touchdown late in the third to make the score 42-0.
“The O-line always does an excellent job,” said Loper. “You ask them to step up and make a hole for you, and they step up and make that hole. You learn to just be able to hit them.”
The young back is learning on the go, and maturing quickly, according to St. Clair.
“He’s a young kid, just a sophomore,” said St. Clair. “But he is just getting better and better each week and each game. If he continues to mature at this pace, the sky’s the limit.”
Up 28-0 at the break, Rustin had a chance to start the running clock on its first play from scrimmage. Fithian dropped back to pass, and the line gave him eternity to scan his receivers. He found Adam Burke with a cushion between himself and the defender, and dropped a pass on his fingertips. Burke
pulled it in, and covered all the remaining green on a 68-yard touchdown.
“The line was making great blocks and gave Fithian all the time in the world,” said Burke. “That pass was right on the money. I’m just glad I could finish it in the end zone and allowed us to start the second half out with a big play.”
Burke also added 57 yards rushing on seven carries, and scored three times.
“These kids come out hard and ready to play every week,” said St. Clair. “They work hard in practice and try to keep getting better. We just want to win out, make the playoffs, and hope Kennett can upset Unionville, so we can at least get a piece of the Ches-Mont title.”
Rustin remains a game behind Unionville in the American race. The Golden Knights will visit Sun Valley next week.
Meanwhile, Oxford hosts Kennett next week, still with dreams of recording its frist winning season since 1996.
“We definitely laid an egg here today,” said Pietlock. “But that’s the thing with coaching kids. They will probably be over it by the time we get to Oxford. It’s the coaches that will stew over it for days. But this is a good group of kids. I think these seniors really want to go out as winners, and they will come out after it the next two weeks.”
West Chester Rustin 48, Oxford 0
Oxford 0 0 0 0--0
W.C. Rustin 7 21 13 7--48
WCR-- Fithian 1 run (Jenkins kick)
WCR-- Burke 1 run (Jenkins kick)
WCR-- Miller fumble recovery in end zone (Jenkins kick)
WCR-- Burke 46 run (Jenkins kick)
WCR-- Burke 68 pass from Fithian (Jenkins kick)
WCR-- Loper 55 run (Jenkins kick)
WCR-- Kirk 22 run (Jenkins kick)
First downs 9 12
Yards rushing 78 299
Yards passing 86 82
Total yards 164 381
Passing 8-16-2 3-5-1
Fumbles-Lost 0-0 1-0
Penalties 3-25 2-15
Punts-Avg. 4-26.5 0-0
RUSHING - Oxford: Turns 11-45; J. Lopez 4-17; Herb 1-16; Way 1-2; Rosa 1-2; Harris 1-2; Deasey 1-1. W.C. Rustin: Loper 14-154 1TD; Burke 7-57 2TD; Kirk 5-36 1TD; McKnight 1-17; Lamberjack 5-16; Pemsley 2-6; Peterson 2-6; Muscarella 1-7.
PASSING - Oxford: Herb 8-14-2 86 yards; Rosa 0-1-0; Green 0-1-0. W.C. Rustin: Fithian 3-5-1 82 yards, 1TD.
RECEIVING - Oxford: Sumner 2-33; X. Lopez 2-17; Turns 1-15; Davis 1-8; Clark 1-4. W.C. Rustin: Lamberjack 2-14; Burke 1-68 1TD.
SACKS - Oxford: None. W.C. Rustin: None.
INTERCEPTIONS - Oxford: Rosa. W.C. Rustin: Love; Stewart.