By PETER DiGIOVANNI
Week eight of the scholastic football season is upon us and with just three weeks until the District 1 playoffs, a number of area teams are in desperation mode as league titles and playoff spots are on the line. The highlight game this week is tonight's Ches-Mont League American Disvision battle between defending division champion Unionville and undefeated top-seed in Class AAAA, West Chester Rustin.
The pair are the only teams that have won the American Division since this current incarnation of the league has been in place. This season is no different as the Golden Knights (7-0) will travel down Route 82 to take on a talented Unionville (6-1) squad.The Indians tuned up for the showdown by blanking Octorara, piling 356 yards of total offense while shutting down QB Alex Gooden. Octorara only managed 166 yards of offense. Rustin got ready by destroying Sun Valley, 49-0.
Rustin totaled 453 total yards. Junior running back Terry Loper went for 165 yards in his weekly assault on area defenses. Rustin's defense held Sun Valley to just 110 yards in the rout.Unionville head coach Pat Clark is very familiar with the Golden Knights and knows what they will bring to the matchup."Rustin is a very, very good football team that plays solid football,' Clark said. "They have an outstanding defense and from what we have seen on film, Terry Loper is an excellent back. He is one of the best around this year. To beat Rustin you have to take care of the football, not make any mistakes and get stops against their offense.'
However, Clark also feels his team will be ready for the challenge."I think we are playing at a pretty high level right now. We have been playing very good defense and as long as you play good defense you will be in games,' he added. "Rustin is a big challenge for us, but I feel we are ready to play a good football game.'
Pick: Real tough to pick a winner in this game every year, but here goes. Unionville 27, West Chester Rustin 24.
Coatesville (7-0) at West Chester Henderson (4-3), 7 p.m.This is usually a very tough battle for the Red Raiders, who are rolling right along. Henderson is in fourth place in the Class AAA District 1 playoff race and a win would vault them into first place.
The Henderson defense has shut down Bishop Shanahan and West Chester East the last two weeks. This will be tougher for sure, but the Warriors should be in the game.
Pick: Coatesville 28, West Chester Henderson 14.
Bishop Shanahan (3-3) at Downingtown East (3-4), 7 p.m.Downingtown East finally exploded on offense last week against Avon Grove, while the Eagles lost to Downingtown West. Shanahan is still hurt by injuries up front. Look for improving junior quarterback Ryan Rumer to have a big game for the Cougars, throwing to Cary Angeline and Mike Reichwein. Shanahan QB Dan Murphy will be throwing a lot to keep them in it.
Pick: Downingtown East 29, Bishop Shanahan 14.
Octorara (1-6) at Kennett (2-5), 7 p.m.
Both teams got routed last week. Kennett did not belong on the field with Coatesville, losing 56-7, while the Braves lost to Unionville, 28-0. Kennett should have offense to win, but look for a big game from Braves quarterback Alex Gooden.
Pick: Kennett 24, Octorara 21.
Downingtown West (5-2) at West Chester East (4-3), 7 p.m.West Chester East only scored six points last week in a loss to Henderson. Expect quarterback Jon Jon Roberts to test the Whippets' secondary, led by Mike Goodrich. West will rely on a lot of different formations and sets. They should prevail in what may be a shootout.Pick: Downingtown West 34, West Chester East 28.
Oxford (5-2) at Avon Grove (1-6), 7 p.m.Very interesting matchup here. Although Oxford is 5-2 and the host Red Devils are 1-6 and giving up an average of 46 points a game, Avon Grove's Tanner Peck should be able to on the Hornets, but Ethan Herb should have a field day also against the young Red Devils secondary.
Pick: Oxford 30, Avon Grove 27.
Springfield (Delco) (4-3) at Conestoga (5-2), 7 p.m.Springfield needs this game for its Class AAA playoff push, while Conestoga basically has to win out to reach the Class AAAA dance. Springfield got routed last week, 31-7 by Haverford, which downed the Pioneers two weeks ago. Conestoga belted Lower Merion to give coach John Vogan his 100th career victory.
Pick: Conestoga 21, Springfield 14.
Great Valley (5-2) at Sun Valley (2-5), 7 p.m.Great Valley got back on the winning track last week after two tough losses, by defeating Oxford, 35-28. Sun Valley has been struggling all season, so look for the Pats' offense to put up points.
Pick: Great Valley 35, Sun Valley 13.
Malvern Prep (3-2) at Germantown Academy (4-2), 1:30 p.m.Malvern has to defeat the Patriots here to have any chance of taking at least a share of the Inter-Ac title, but this will not be easy. This will go down to the wire, but I think Malvern can run the football enough to control the clock and get the victory.
Pick: Malvern Prep 21, Germantown Academy 17.