By PETER DiGIOVANNI
KENNETT SQUARE -- Championship football teams are able to run the football and stop the run effectively. Call Unionville the 2012 Ches-Mont League American Division champions because they do both things awfully well.
Saturday afternoon at a frigid Kennett Stadium, Unionville rushed the football for 356 yards and the defense clamped down on Kennett offense for a 34-17 win that gave them its first Ches-Mont League championship since 2007.
Unionville (6-0 Ches-Mont, 8-2 overall) scored 21 fourth-quarter points to pull away from the tough Blue Demons (4-2, 7-3). Unionville senior quarterback Tom Pancoast rushed for 91 yards and two touchdowns and baffled Kennett all game long.
“It feels really great to bring the Ches-Mont title back to Unionville,” Pancoast said. “Our offensive line really played great today and we knew their defense could not stop our running game once we got going and that is what happened in the second half.”
After taking a 6-3 lead into halftime, the Indians showed their muscle right away at the start of the third. Tim Christopher took the Kennett kickoff at his own 24 and rumbled 26 yards to give Unionville great field position at the 50.
Then, it was all Unionville from there as they took almost six minutes off the clock with eight running plays. Brad Pechin, who had 89 yards on the day, along with Garrett Scargill took the ball down the field as the offensive line opened up some big holes to gash the Kennett defense. Scargill took it the final six yards to make it a 13-3 lead.
“We got good field position and then our offensive line took over,” Christopher said. “Every time I looked Ryan Ford was pancaking somebody. We wanted to bring back the title to Unionville and we worked very hard to get it back.”
Kennett head coach Scott Green said that the opening drive was something that hurt his team.
“We tried to kick it to a place where they weren’t.” green said. “But they got a good bounce and then they got their running game going. We did not want to start the half like that for sure.”
The Unionville defense limited the county’s leading rusher, Jordan Lardini to 71 yards on 11 carries -- 56 of those coming on one run.
Kennett then came right back to score making it a 13-10 game when Jordan Lardani broke free for a 56-yard run up the middle down to the Unionville five. Two play later, Jordan Jones went in from two-yards out and it was still a tight ball game.
Kennett then tried an onside kick, that went out of bounds at the Unionville 44. Two plays later, Christopher broke free for a 44-yard run and the Indians were back in business. Dom DiBaggio went in from the four and Unionville had a 10-point lead at 20-10 early in the fourth.
From there, Unionville could not be stopped on the ground as Pechin, Pancoast, DiBaggio and Scargill wore out the Kennett defense. DiBaggio sealed the title clinching win with a quick 73-yard touchdown run to seal the deal and kill Kennett’s playoff hopes and give Unionville a likely first-round home playoff game next weekend against a team to be determined.
“We wanted to bring the title back to Unionville,” Indians head coach Pat Clark said. “West Chester Rustin had some great teams and Kennett was tough today. Scott Green has done a great job witht his program but our kids take a lot of pride in their abiltiy to run the football and defenively is where we won the game today.
“It was not easy. They worked very hard since the summer and they really wanted to win the Ches-Mont. I am really happy for them. And Dom DiBaggio does a reat job on that run to seal the win for us.”
The loss ended Kennett’s season, but Green had nothing but praise for this group which gave the Blue Demons their best season ever.
“I told the kids that it hurts now but when they look back at this season they will feel a great sense of accomplishment for what they have done.” he said.
Unionville 34, Kennnett 17
Unionville 0 6 7 21-34
Kennett 0 3 7 7-17
U-Pancoast 15 run (kick failed)
K-Rose 30 FG
U-Scargill 6 run (Pechin kick)
K-Jones 2 run (Rose kick)
U-DiBaggio 4 run (Pechin kick)
U-Pancoast 7 run (Pechin kick)
K-Rochester 37 pass from Jones (Rose kick)
U-DiBaggio 73 run (Pechin kick)
First downs 18 6
Yards rushing 356 126
Yards passing 10 41
Total yards 366 167
Passing 1-4-1 2-6-0
Punts-avg 0-0 3-26.5
Fumbles-lost 1-1 1-1
Penalties-yds 3-35 3-35
Rushing: Union: Pancoast 17-91, 2 TDs; Pechin 18-89; DiBaggio 3-86, 2 TDs; Christopher 3-59; Scargill 4-23, TD; Stradling 4-8. Ken: Lardini 11-71; Jones 13-36, TD; Lowe 7-7; McQuiston 3-12.
Passing: Union: Pancoast 1-4-10. Ken: Jones 2-6-41, TD.
Receiving: Union: Johnson 1-10. Ken: Rochester 2-41.
Interceptions: Union: None. Ken: Rose.
Follow Peter DiGiovanni at twitter.com/dlnsports.