By STEVEN LEITZEL
Journal Register News Service
WEST CHESTER – You couldn’t have scripted it any better for running back/wide receiver Spencer Rymiszewski. Amassing over 250 total yards and four touchdowns in front of a packed house on senior night is the storybook ending to a career that all athletes dream of.
Rymiszewski’s contributions were more than enough to power Henderson past Avon Grove, 42-9, on a chilly evening at J. Oscar Dicks Stadium. The senior proved to be quite versatile during the contest, eclipsing the century mark both on the ground and through the air.
“When you’ve got a special guy like number eight (Rymiszewski), he can make some plays for you even if things aren’t blocked exactly right, even if the play breaks down a little bit,” said Henderson head coach Steve Mitten. “He’s that special kind of player, who will just make big plays.”
Big may be an understatement. Rymiszewski tallied 252 yards on a mere 14 touches. Try as they might, there was little for the Red Devils (1-4 Ches-Mont National, 1-8 overall) to do when the opposition boasted an offensive weapon that can produce 18 yards every time he touches the ball. Such numbers are appropriate for a young man drawing a lot of attention from Ivy League schools and other FCS programs.
With the win, the Warriors (3-2, 7-2) locked up a spot in the upcoming district one class AAA tournament.
“We want to get to the district championship of course, and do something that this school’s never done before,” said Rymiszewski. “This means a lot, having been to the playoffs last year and losing in the first round. We really want to go far and get this district championship, for sure.”
A sliver of doubt may have briefly entered the Warriors’ minds, as the underdog Devils took the opening kickoff right down the field on the opening possession of the game. The drive stalled at the Henderson 16, forcing Avon Grove to settle for a 33-yard field goal from junior Anthony Scarpato.
The Devils’ only lead of the night would be short lived, as just two minutes later, Rymiszewski scored on an electrifying run for a 7-3 Warrior lead. Taking the ball on a toss left, he stutter-stepped a defender on the edge, cut back against the grain, and turned on the jets for the 46-yard touchdown.
Two possessions later, senior quarterback James Bady took a keeper 15 yards off right tackle to push the lead to 14-3. In the second quarter, Bady and Rymiszewski hooked up for two huge, game-changing plays. First, the two connected on a 60-yard fly pattern, on which Rymiszewski was all alone behind the Avon Grove secondary. Then, on the final play of the half, Bady was able to hit a Hail Mary pass. Rymiszewski caught the tipped ball at his knees, and strolled into the end zone for the 47-yard score as time expired. Henderson took a comfortable 28-3 advantage into the locker room.
The Warriors received the second half kickoff and went right back to work. On a fourth-and-four, Rymiszewski added his fourth score of the evening on a sweep left. Despite the entire Devil defense stacking the box, he was able to get around the corner, through the first wave, and crossed the goal line from 34 yards out. Three minutes later, sophomore tailback Tre Green instituted the running clock by waltzing in from the five on a toss left, making the score 42-3 in favor of the hosts.
Avon Grove did register a score late on a beautiful 27-yard fade down the left sideline from junior quarterback Tanner Peck to senior Jared Braxton, on which the wideout outfought a defender for the ball in the back of the end zone.
Henderson’s spot in the AAA playoffs is now secure, but first things first – an opportunity to exact some revenge against the team that ousted them the previous year, undefeated Downingtown East.
“You really have to play a perfect game, then get a couple breaks,” said Mitten. “Coach (Mike) Matta, (quarterback Kyle) Lauletta, (receiver Jay) Harris, and all those guys over there are unbelievable – an unbelievable team, and it’ll be a great challenge for us to go against them.”
Henderson 42, Avon Grove 9
Avon Grove 3 0 0 6 - 9
Henderson 14 14 14 0 - 42
AG–Scarpato 33 field goal
H–Rymiszewski 46 run (Engle kick)
H–Bady 15 run (Engle kick)
H–Rymiszewski 60 pass from Bady (Engle kick)
H–Rymiszewski 47 pass from Bady (Engle kick)
H–Rymiszewski 34 run (Engle kick)
H–Green 5 run (Engle kick)
AG–Braxton 27 pass from Peck (pass failed)
First downs 14 12
Yards rushing 133 259
Yards passing 62 147
Total yards 195 406
Passing 7-18-1 5-7-1
Fumbles-Lost 4-1 1-1
Penalties 9-85 8-80
Punts-Avg. 5-29.2 2-28.0
RUSHING – AG: Peck 14-46; Amanto 8-46; Davis 6-22; Kim 1-12; Parola 1-11; Moran 1-4; D’Aquanno 2-0; Radecki 4-(-8). H: Rymiszewski12-145, 2 TD; Bady 7-51, TD; C. Mitten 4-36; Matonti 4-15; Girafalco 1-9; Green 2-6, TD; Lind 1-0; Dinacci 2-(-3).
PASSING – AG: Peck 7-18, 62, TD, INT. H: Bady 5-7, 147, 2 TD, INT.
RECEIVING – AG: Braxton 3-48, TD; Davis 2-2; Amanto 1-10; D’Aquanno 1-2. H: Rymiszewski 2-107, 2 TD; P. Mitten 2-27; Girafalco 1-13.
SACKS – AG: Lytle (2). H: Kane, Medykiewicz, Delaney.
INTERCEPTIONS – AG: Davis. H: Rymiszewski.