WESTTOWN — It put a serious hit on the District 1 Class AAAA playoff seedings.
It was a hit similar to the beat down Perkiomen Valley administered on West Chester Rustin during Friday's District 1-AAAA opening-round game ... but with farther-reaching implications for the postseason.
Rasaan Stewart and Clay Domine hooked up on three passing touchdowns to spur the Vikings' 26-6 victory over the second-seeded Golden Knights. In doing so, PV dispensed any notion its 15th-seeded status in the 1-AAAA bracket foretold a one-and-done lifespan in the playoffs.
"I had kids in school — kids who weren't associated with the football team — ask me who we were playing this week,' head coach Scott Reed said. "I told them our opponent, and when they asked if they were any good, I said, ' Every team is good at this level.''
The Vikings proved they belong, amassing more than 450 yards total offense while keeping Rustin around 250. While qualifying for the Round of Eight — it will face seventh-seeded Central Bucks West next week — PV (9-2) sent No. 2 Rustin home for the year with its first loss after a 10-0 run in the regular season.
"That's how District 1 is,' Reed said. "You talk to any of the teams who are one through eight, and they'll tell you nine through 16 are all dangerous.'
The Vikes' passing game made its presence felt right away, after the defense recovered a Knight fumble on their third play of the game from the opening kickoff. With the ball just shy of midfield, Stewart (20-for-33, 225 yards) hooked up with Mark Bonomo on a 14-yard toss before nailing Domine with a pass covering 35 yards to the end zone little more than 1½ minutes into the contest.
That 6-0 lead held up through the remainder of the half, though Rustin made two red-zone runs and PV one along the way. It was finally padded on the Vikings' first possession off the second-half kickoff, Stewart and Domine teaming up on a nine-yard TD pass at the 8:20 mark.
The Stewart/Domine tandem made it a "hat trick' on Perk Valley's next possession, covering 13 yards to cap an eight-play, 60-yard march at the 4:20 mark. Before the game ended, they would hook up nine times for passes covering 112 yards.
"Rasaan has really good eyes. He's good at looking downfield,' Domine said. "Whenever there was trouble, he was able to find me on open plays and connect.'
Dakota Clanagan was also productive in the air game, with five catches for 58 yards. And Mark Bonomo, who had 47 yards rushing on 12 carries, was on the receiving end of three Stewart tosses covering 37 yards.
"On the short plays, we were wide open,' said Stewart, the game's rushing leader with 89 yards on 13 carries. "We were able to connect on those plays.'
"We definitely felt Rustin has good players,' Reed added. "They had much of the team playing in the box. We wanted to move around more, using the whole field.'
The Knights averted a shutout inside the game's six-minute mark, going 83 yards on two plays following a PV "quick kick' on fourth down. Quarterback Dave Fithian (7-for-16, 77 yards) needed just two plays to cover the distance, hitting Omar Stewart on a 10-yard pass before hooking up with Ethan Ridgeway on a 73-yard pass with 5:32 left.
But PV quashed any comeback hopes the home team may have been entertaining when it put another six on the board 64 seconds before game's end. Kurran Holland went one yard around his right end to complete a 60-yard drive that got a decided shot in the arm when Ryan O'Donnell (four carries, 61 yards) ran 35 on fourth down to the Rustin 13 after lining up as if they were going to punt the ball away.
"We're very good at executing our plays, guys getting open,' Stewart said.
Looking to next week, the Vikes are relishing the opportunity to face a storied C.B. West program whose legacy features several PIAA championships during the 1990s. But they will go in bolstered by their latest gridiron conquest.
"We knew our team long ago was one of the best teams in our league,' Stewart said. "We came in with the confidence that we can beat these teams.'
"We came out fired up, coming here to play,' Domine added.
Dwayne Loper was Rustin's leading ground-gainer, with 68 yards on 23 totes. "We knew he was their biggest weapon,' Stewart said. "We felt if we could shut him down, the others could be handled.' ... Matt Genuardi attempted a 33-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter, but his try was ruled wide of the uprights.
Follow Jeff Stover on Twitter at @MercuryXStover.
Perkiomen Valley 26
W.C. Rustin 6
Perkiomen Valley 6 0 13 7 — 26
W.C. Rustin 0 0 0 6 — 6
PV-Domine 35 pass from R.Stewart (kick failed)
PV-Domine 9 pass from R.Stewart (kick failed)
PV-Domine 21 pass from R.Stewart (Genuardi kick)
WCR-Ridgeway 73 pass from Fithian (pass failed)
PV-Holland 1 run (Genuardi kick)
First Downs 26 11
Rushing yards 241 103
Passing yards 225 150
Total yards 466 253
Passes C-A-I 20-33-1 8-16-0
Fumbles-Lost 2-0 1-1
Penalties-Yards 2-20 4-35
Punts-Avg. 3-25.7 3-38.0
Perkiomen Valley: R.Stewart, 13-89; O'Donnell, 4-61; Bonomo, 12-47; Holland, 4-35, 1 TD; Wilson, 1-9.
W.C. Rustin: Loper, 23-68; Pernsley, 5-16; Sweeney, 1-11; O.Stewart, 1-9; Fithian, 3-(-1).
Perkiomen Valley: Stewart, 20-33-225, 3 TDs, 1 INT.
W.C. Rustin: Fithian, 7-14-129, 1 TD; Ridgeway, 1-2-21.
Perkiomen Valley: Domine, 9-112, 3 TDs; Clanagan, 5-58; Bonomo, 3-37; O'Donnell, 1-13; Holland, 1-7; Wilson, 1-(-2).
W.C. Rustin: O.Stewart, 3-14; Ridgeway, 2-89, 1 TD; Kirk, 2-26; Fithian, 1-21.
Interceptions: W.C. Rustin-O. Stewart.
Sacks: Perkiomen Valley-DiElsi.