Rustin closes out undefeated regular season with rout of Octorara
By BILL RUDICK
ATGLEN — Coming into Friday night's Ches-Mont League American Division football game against Octorara, West Chester Rustin was sitting atop the points standing in the District 1 playoff picture, while running back Terry Loper was leading the county in rushing. When all was said and done, Loper cemented his place at the top of the heap of local backs, while the Golden Knights did nothing to lose their spot at the top either, cruising past the hosts, 60-20.
"Terry is such a good back,' said Rustin quarterback Dave Fithian. "He runs so well, it opens up our passing game.'
Loper led all rushers with 169 yards on 12 carries, for a ridiculous 14.1 yards per carry average, and found the end zone twice. Most impressively, it was all in the first half. Rustin piled up 359 yards on the ground, with TJ Kirk handling the second-half load, gaining 85 yards on six carries.
"We came out pretty quickly and established the running game,' said Rustin coach Mike St. Clair. "That allowed us to throw a little.'
Emphasis on "a little.' The Golden Knights (6-0, 10-0) attempted just five passes, with Fithian completing three of those passes for 43 yards. All three completed passes, however, went for touchdowns —a pair to Omar Stewart -- and one to Ethan Ridgeway.
"With the way we were running the ball, we were getting one-on-one matchups with our receivers,' said Fithian. "I'll take our receivers one-on-one with anyone. The coaches put us in position to make those throws. We just had to execute them.'
Though not one of the local quarterbacks to put up overly gaudy numbers, there is perhaps no more efficient QB in the area. Fithian now has 12 touchdown passes in 10 games and has not been picked off all year.
"David has been very efficient the whole time he's been here,' said St. Clair. "He's got a strong arm, he's smart, and he's accurate. He does a great job of putting the ball where his receivers can make the catch.'
Though Octorara (1-5, 1-9) may not have the best record in the division, it doesn't mean they are without a few weapons, not the least of whom is quarterback Alex Gooden. The Braves' playmaker rushed for 110 yards, threw a TD pass, and ran back a kickoff 93 yards for a touchdown.
"Gooden is really shifty out there,' said Rustin linebacker Sean Steinmetz. "We really haven't seen anyone like him all year, so it's good to see someone like that before we head into the playoffs. It's good practice to face someone elusive like him.'
St. Clair agreed, adding, "That kid is one of the best in the area. It is definitely good to come up against a quarterback that can run like that as we prepare for districts.'
With the win, Rustin closes out a perfect regular season and has been playing some of its best football of the year down the stretch.
"I've been a part of this program since freshman year,' said Steinmetz. "You have a lot of favorite moments along the way, but senior year has been a lot of fun so far. We're not done yet.'
While the district seedings don't become official until later today, Rustin can do no worse than second, meaning they will host a first-round game.
"We're just glad to be back in districts,' said St. Clair. "It's an exciting time of year, and we're just thrilled to be playing Friday night at home next week.'
W.C. Rustin 60, Octorara 20
W.C. Rustin 13 26 20 14-- 60
Octorara 0 6 14 0--20
WCR -- Loper 13 run (kick failed)
WCR -- Stewart 18 pass from Fithian (Anderson kick)
WCR -- Stewart 11 pass from Fithian (kick failed)
WCR -- Loper 5 run (kick failed)
Oct -- Gooden 93 kick return (kick failed)
WCR -- Pernesley 4 run (Anderson kick)
WCR -- Ridgeway 14 pass from Fithian (Anderson kick)
Oct -- McHenry 5 pass from Gooden (Reynolds kick)
WCR -- Pernsley 6 run (Anderson kick)
Oct -- Cooper 41 run (Reynolds kick)
WCR -- Ricci 12 run (Anderson kick)
WCR -- Simpkins 36 run (Anderson kick)
WCR OCTFirst downs 14 11
Yards rushing 359 219
Yards passing 43 27
Total yards 402 246
Passing 3-5-0 4-6-1
Fumbles-Lost 0-0 0-0
Penalties 2-30 1-10
Punts-Avg. 0-0 1-37.0
RUSHING - Rustin: Loper 12-159 2TDs; Kirk 6-85; Pernsley 5-29 2TDs; Simpkins 1-36 TD; Ricci 3-28 TD; Wlock 1-1; Muscarella 2-5; Jordan 1-3; Rotelli 1-3. Octorara: Gooden 17-110; Cooper 14-97 TD; Hill 5-19; Walls 2-3.
PASSING - Rustin: Fithian 3-5-0 43 yards 2TDs; Wlock 0-0-0. Octorara: Gooden 2-3-0 11 yards TD; Shchentt 2-3-1 16 yards.
RECEIVING - Rustin: Stewart 2-29 TD; Ridgeway 1-14 TD. Octorara: McHenry 1-5 TD; Reynolds 2-11; Cooper 1-11.
SACKS - Rustin: Dunion; Octorara:None.
INTERCEPTIONS - Rustin: Dever. Octorara: None.