Friday, November 16, 2012
Green leads Henderson to district final
By NATE HECKENBERGER
LOWER POTTSGROVE -- Amidst frosted blades of grass and cold breaths puffing from facemasks, West Chester Henderson’s future bloomed unexpectedly.
Filling in for an injured Spencer Rymiszewski, sophomore Tre Green exploded onto the scene with 160 rushing yards a three touchdowns. His final TD tied the game in the fourth quarter, and kicker Sean Engle’s 31-yard field goal won it, as No. 4 Henderson upset top-seeded, and previously undefeated, Pottsgrove, 31-28, in the Class AAA District 1 semifinal on the Falcons’ home turf.
The only thing that could match Green’s brilliance was the play of Henderson’s defense, which played lights-out football for almost the final three quarters. The Warriors will take on No. 3 Interboro at Plymouth Whitemarsh next Friday night in the Class AAA title game.
“When Spence went down I knew it was my time to step up and make plays and come through,” said Green who had just 19 carries for 81 yards and one TD coming in. “I want to thank my lord and savior Jesus Christ for giving me this opportunity to play this game, and I couldn’t have done it without my offensive line.”
Henderson (9-3) stomached some massive body blows by Pottsgrove (11-1) in the first half after the Falcons raced out to a 14-0 lead on their first two drives. But like so many other times this season, it was Rymiszewski who gave the Warriors their spark, returning a Pottsgrove punt 29 yards to the Falcons’ two-yard line.
Rymiszewski hurt his ankle on the play, leaving it up to Green to put Henderson on the board, which he did on the ensuing play. Rymiszewski returned, but only at cornerback.
“Our coaches have been talking about (Green) for weeks and weeks,” Henderson coach Steve Mitten said. “I said his chance will come and it did (Friday night). And boy, did he take advantage. A star is born in Tre Green.”
Warrior quarterback James Bady played arguably his best game of the season, burning the Falcons a couple times in the first half, and eventually tying the score at 14 on an eight-yard connection with Chris Mitten.
But the Falcons turned a blocked punt in Henderson territory into seven and went to the break up, 21-14.
“It was a slow start for us, but we knew we had it” said Chris Mitten, who recorded half of a sack, recovered a fumble and had 79 total yards on offense. “We knew the defense had it in us, and once we got used to the environment we did good and got the win.”
Pottsgrove, who averaged 328 rushing yards in its 11 games coming in, collected 157 in the first half. The Warriors completely dismantled the Falcons’ ground attack in the second half, holding them to just four yards. Henderson linebacker Adam Weaver was in the backfield all night and the Falcons eventually ran out of options on the ground.
“These guys are exceptional football players and they’re very well-prepared by John Lunardi, our defensive coordinator,” Steve Mitten said. “They make plays and know how to play football. When you play physical defense it starts to take a toll on the other team, and I told them in the fourth quarter to stay close and they’ll start to wear down.”
After Mike Medykiewicz recovered the second fumble by Pottsgrove quarterback Tory Hudgins, Green tied the game at 21 with a four-yard plunge with one tick left in the third.
It was then that Pottsgrove made its last bigtime drive of the season. The Falcons moved the ball 65 yards in nine plays, largely through the air, and took a 28-21 lead with 8:10 remaining.
On offense, Henderson’s toss to its right side became unstoppable, and Green followed Matt Eichman and company for 48 yards the next drive. Green’s capper was a 26-yard tightrope act along the boundary for the tying TD.
The Warriors forced a three-and-out, and just like that, Green was on the move again, breaking a counter to the left for 60 yards down to the Falcon two. But penalties hindered Henderson all night, and No. 13 and 14 eventually led to a fourth-and-goal from the 13. In came Engle, up went the kick and through the uprights went the ball with 2:54 left.
“Anytime you can come up to Pottsgrove in a district game and get a win is something to be relished,” Steve Mitten said.
Hudgins managed two first downs on Pottsgrove’s final drive, but on fourth-and-16 from its own 43, Hudgins was forced to scramble by Tom Delaney and was eventually ruled down 19 yards backwards, launching the Warriors into a frenetic celebration.
A win against Interboro (10-2) would give Henderson its first-ever district championship.
“I was a ball boy back in ‘07 when we lost to Ridley (in the 4A title game),” Chris Mitten said. “No Henderson team has won the district title, and we want to win it and go down in history.”
West Chester Henderson 31, Pottsgrove 28
West Chester Henderson 0 14 7 10— 31
Pottsgrove 14 7 0 7—28
PG- Hudgins 5 run (kick blocked)
PG- Brennan 5 run (Brennan pass from Hudgins)
WCH- Green 2 run (Engle kick)
WCH- C. Mitten 8 pass from Bady (Engle kick)
PG- Brennan 1 run (Klinger kick)
WCH- Green 4 run (Engle kick)
PG- Brennan 1 run (Klinger kick)
WCH- Green 26 run (Engle kick)
WCH- Engle 31 field goal
First downs 9 14
Rushes-Yards 254 161
Passing yards 72 84
Total yards 326 245
Passing 5-12-2 5-13-0
Punts-Average 4-23.8 4-31.5
Fumbles-Lost 3-0 3-2
Penalties-Yards 14-102 7-49
Rushing: WCH- Green 16-160, 3 TDs; Rymiszewski 6-45; C. Mitten 2-32; Girafalco 4-7; Matonti 2-7; Bady 10-3. PG- Hudgins 25-43, TD; Dukes 10-38; Barefield 1-29; Polamalu 2-26; Brennan 10-26, 3 TDs.
Passing: WCH- Bady 5-12-72; TD, 2 INTs. PG- Hudgins 5-13-84.
Receiving: WCH- C. Mitten 2-47; P. Mitten 2-15; Green 1-10. PG- Fowler 2-45; Miller 2-25; Brennan 1-14.
Sacks: WCH- Thompson; Delaney; C. Mitten .5; Kane .5. PG- Birch
Interceptions: WCH- none. PG- Barefield; Mayes.