Running backs Stewart, Dorsey run away from New Oxford. Teddy Feinberg/GameTimePA.com
William Penn is winless no more.
The Bearcats beat New Oxford, 62-29, on Saturday afternoon at Small Field. It’s the first win for the Bearcats football program since Oct. 24, 2014, when the team beat New Oxford, 43-7.
William Penn is now 1-8 on the year, while New Oxford remains winless at 0-9.
William Penn took a 35-7 lead into halftime, on the power of running backs Dayjure Stewart and Khalid Dorsey. Stewart, a sophomore, was particularly electric, with touchdown runs of 70 (on a kickoff return), 74, 63 and 58 yards.
The Colonials gave William Penn a late scare, scoring two touchdowns and recording a safety in the third quarter, slicing the deficit to 35-22 entering the fourth period.
But William Penn got a 19-yard touchdown toss from Tallian Lehr to Robert Rideout and another Dorsey scoring run – this one from 23 yards out. The Bearcats continued to pour things on from there.
The victory capped an emotional day for the Bearcats, who honored the family of senior Eugene Hillian, a junior varsity player who was killed in a shooting Tuesday.
"I told myself when I woke up this morning — this game was for him and his family," said William Penn senior defensive lineman Erik Mann. "He loved the team, he loved being here. We needed to get this for us, and for him."
It's been a roller-coaster season for the Bearcats, who had their games moved from Friday nights to Saturday mornings after a shooting incident outside Small Field during their Week 2 game against J.P. McCaskey.
"It feels good for the community, the city," said Mann, a leader on the squad who was greeted with a loud chorus of applause during pre-game introductions.
"Mixed emotions," Stewart said of the season. "We started slow, made mistakes, but we've also progressed. After the tragic accident that took place, we just knew we had to win for our brother."
Stewart teamed with his running mate Dorsey to show the home faithful what the future could provide: a thunder-and-lightning duo.
Dorsey, a junior, is the pounder — an upright runner who showed a knack for shedding tackles. He scored on the game's first offensive play from scrimmage, a 68-yard scamper through a hole along the right side to put the Bearcats ahead 6-0.
Stewart, on the other hand, has the look of a big-play threat. Running low to the ground, he hits full throttle quickly with long strides in the open field. He scored the Bearcats' second touchdown when, after New Oxford went ahead 7-6 in the first quarter, he returned the ensuing kickoff 70 yards to paydirt.
Aside from sharing the Bearcats' backfield, Dorsey and Stewart also run for William Penn track on the 400 relay team.
"The dynamic duo," Dorsey quipped. "People better look out next year."
Stewart called himself and Dorsey "a package" and said they "push ourselves together."
As for his personal goals, Stewart said he hopes to "get better, work harder, continue working as a team. And be a collegiate athlete."
The Bearcats managed to win by 33 points despite losing five fumbles and having a handful of touchdowns called back for penalties. Both teams have struggled this season.
New Oxford quarterback Tanner Miller was a bright spot, scoring on touchdown runs of 56 and 48 yards to earn praise from both coaches.
"He's played well all season and he's a tough kid," Colonials coach Greg Bowman said. "I wish he wasn't a senior."
"The quarterback has a lot of moxy," Stoner said, "and I have a lot of respect for a kid like that."
The Colonials needed a win just as badly as the Bearcats. But make no mistake — Saturday was William Penn's day to shine.
"The best part about it is just seeing the kids' faces. They were excited to win," Stoner said. "They didn't play a perfect game by any means, but they played well enough to win."