In a battle of Mustangs Friday night in the first round of the District 3 Class AAAA football playoffs, it was the Mustangs of Governor Mifflin that took home the victory, 49-20, over South Western High at Shillington.
Led by running back/defensive back Thomas DePaul, Governor Mifflin outgained South Western 465-268 in total yards, including 432 yards on the ground by the host team.
Offensively, DePaul scored three rushing touchdowns and, on the defensive side of the ball, he came up with two big interceptions.
Governor Mifflin ran its option offense to perfection most of the night, giving the South Western defense one headache after another.
"They (Governor Mifflin) did a really good job of running their offense," South Western head coach Damian Poalucci said. "We talked about defensive responsibility and doing your job all week long, but when you get out and they are running it so well, there is not much you can do."
Governor Mifflin got its offense started on its first possession of the game when it marched 40 yards on six plays that concluded with a 10-yard option keeper by quarterback Jan Johnson.
After Mike Duffy's pass was intercepted, Governor Mifflin again marched down the field pretty easily. On second-and-6 from the 12-yard line, the Mustangs ran a jet sweep to Thomas DePaul, who picked up a great block by wide receiver Salvatorre DelVecchio to clear his path into the end zone.
South Western recovered
DePaul scored another touchdown to close out the first quarter on another jet sweep, this time from 10 yards out andpicking up another great block by DelVecchio.
With the lead at 28-7 late in the second quarter, South Western received a huge 80-yard punt return by Payton Taylor that gave the Mustangs the ball at the Governor Mifflin 10 yard-line. Three plays later, quarterback Tyler Sterner found Jerome Robinson cutting across the middle of the end zone for a score.
That was the closest the Mustangs would get as Governor Mifflin came right back on its very next possession and DePaul scored his third touchdown of the half with an 11-yard run.
"Our offensive line did a great job all day," DePaul said. "Having a game like this feels great, especially to get a big win like this. I wasn't expecting to run the ball that much and having two interceptions on defense. I think I had a good game."
DePaul finished the game with 135 yards rushing and three touchdowns. Johnson added 99 yards rushing and a touchdown.
"We saw that their tackles and inside guys were just pinching down really hard and that left Tommy and I wide open," Johnson said.
By the late in the third quarter, Governor Mifflin built their lead to 49-14 when South Western started its drive on its own 23-yard line. Sterner handed off to running back Dillon Thomas, who took it 77 yards, outrunning all the defenders all the way into the end zone.
That would be all the scoring.
Thomas finished the evening with 194 yards rushing and a touchdown. He finished his season with 1,545 yards and 17 touchdowns.
"Dillon did a great job tonight," Poalucci said. "But to do that, you have to credit the offensive line. They did a great job of making the holes. It was just one of those nights where we played our hearts out, and they were just better than us tonight."
Fortunately for South Western, they entered the season as a young team whose future now looks bright and full of promise.
"Not many people thought we would make it this far," Poalucci said. "Our seniors really left their mark. We have a great future to look forward to, but tonight still hurts."
So. Western 7 7 6 0 -- 20
Gov. Mifflin 21 14 14 0 -- 49
GM -- Jan Johnson 10 run (David Suchoza kick), 7:57.
GM -- Thomas DePaul 12 run (Suchoza kick), 3:47.
SW -- Zach Osborne 10 run (Jake Tracy kick), 1:59.
GM -- DePaul 10 run (Suchoza kick), 4:33.
GM -- Aric Dupell 11 run (Suchoza kick), 4:33.
SW -- Jerome Robinson 9 pass from Tyler Sterner (Tracy kick), 3:28.
GM -- DePaul 11 run (Suchoza kick), 1:19.
GM -- Jonas Fiant 1 run (Suchoza kick), 8:28.
GM -- Thomas Battinieri 9 pass from Johnson (Suchoza kick), 3:13.
SW -- Dillon Thomas 77 run (kick failed), 0:10.
-- SW -- GM
First downs -- 10 -- 22
Rushes-yards -- 31-228 -- 54-421
Passing -- 6-13-2 -- 2-4-0
Passing yards -- 46 -- 33
Total yards -- 274 -- 454
Punts -- 4-30.2 -- 2-31.5
Fumbles-lost -- 2-1 -- 2-1
Penalties-yards -- 3-15 -- 3-35
Rushing -- South Western, Thomas 19-194, Bobby Wildasin 4-18, Osborne 2-13, Brady Shultz 4-6, Dakotah Moses 1-1, Sterner 1-(-4); Governor Mifflin, DePaul 10-135, Johnson 9-99, Ryan Barbon 16-75, Fiant 4-28, Dupell 3-26, Majid Sillah 1-17, Rhomello Martin 3-31, Hunter Reeser 4-3, Bret Kendall 2-6, Wilson Fontanez 2-1.
Passing -- South Western, Mike Duffy 0-4-1-0, Sterner 6-9-1-46; Governor Mifflin, Johnson 2-3-0-33, Reeser 0-1-0-0.
Receiving -- South Western, Wildasin 2-16, Moses 1-11, Robinson 1-9, Osborne 1-5, Thomas 1-5; Governor Mifflin, Battinieri 2-33.