Zu­bi­laga, Unionville shut out Hor­nets

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - FOOTBALL FRIDAY - By Bill Ru­dick bru­dick55@gmail.com @bru­dick55 on Twit­ter

EAST NOT­TING­HAM >> Nei­ther of­fense ex­actly lit up the score­board Fri­day night at Ox­ford.

The host Hor­nets were solid, but the vis­it­ing In­di­ans were able to reach the end zone twice, as Unionville picked up its sec­ond league win of the sea­son in shut­ting out Ox­ford, 14-0, in Ches-Mont League Amer­i­can Di­vi­sion ac­tion. (1-5, 0-3)

“We just had to stay tough,” said the In­di­ans Trevor Gar­diner. “We just had to keep our heads up and play tough. Ox­ford came at us hard and played tough, but we did what we needed to do when we needed to grind out a win.”

The first quar­ter ended with the game still score­less. Both de­fenses came up with big plays in the pe­riod, with each team forc­ing and re­cov­er­ing a fum­ble, and both teams mak­ing stops on fourth and short.

“Any­time you can hold Unionville to 14 points, your de­fense has done a nice job,” said Ox­ford coach Mike Means. “This de­fense has been get­ting bet­ter and bet­ter ev­ery week. We just have to get things go­ing on of­fense.”

Unionville (2-0, 3-3) fi­nally got on the board in the sec­ond quar­ter. It ap­peared the Hor­nets might come through with an­other big stop af­ter Unionville had driven past mid­field, but In­di­ans quar­ter­back Joe Zu­bi­laga con­verted a fourth and three into a 15-yard gain, keep­ing the drive alive. Jack Adams fi­nally found pay­dirt, bul­ly­ing his way for a one-yard score with a lit­tle over five min­utes re­main­ing in the half.

“Hon­estly, we killed our­selves in the first half with penal­ties,” said Zu­bi­laga, who fin­ished the night with 83 yards on 16 car­ries to go along with 37 yards on 3 for 7 pass­ing. “We might have put up a few more touch­downs had we not been pe­nal­ized so much. So we just tried to take ad­van­tage of the op­por­tu­ni­ties we got. But we’re still un­beaten in the di­vi­sion, so we’re still the champs un­til some­one beats us.”

In­deed, the flags were fly­ing all night. Unionville fin­ished with 10 penal­ties for 85 yards, while Ox­ford was flagged seven times for 50 yards, all in the sec­ond half.

The Hor­nets came out in the sec­ond half and be­gan to grind it out them­selves. Trail­ing 7-0 to start the third, the Hor­nets took the kick­off and took over at their own 10. Ox­ford pro­ceeded to cover 80 yards on 14 plays — eat­ing up eight min­utes to boot — but the drive stalled when a suc­ces­sion of de­lay of game and false start penal­ties took them from in­side the 10 to a fourth and long near the twenty.

“Those kinds of penal­ties are on us as coaches,” said Means. “If we’re not get­ting plays in time, that’s on us.”

Unionville made the stop, and be­gan march­ing off a drive of its own, high­lighted by a 50yard scam­per from Zu­bi­laga. The drive ate up the re­main­der of the third quar­ter, and three min­utes of the fourth, be­fore Adams notched his sec­ond score of the game to push the lead to 14-0, this time from 10 yards out.

“That part of the game was a big turn­ing point,” said In­di­ans coach Pat Clark. “They get in and it’s 7-7 and a whole new game. Get­ting that stop and then turn­ing around and get­ting a score go­ing the other way was huge for us.”

The In­di­ans re­turn home for home­com­ing next week, but they have any­thing but a cup­cake op­po­nent set up for the fes­tiv­i­ties, as they will square off against a high-pow­ered Great Val­ley team that will be smart­ing from a stun­ning loss to West Ch­ester Rustin Fri­day night.

“We have a very tough sched­ule,” Clark said. “Mike Means is a tough coach, and the Ox­ford kids are very com­pa­ra­ble to our kids. But that is just go­ing to help us get ready for the big games. As an op­pos­ing coach, watching the Great Val­ley of­fense is a plea­sure. Now we just have to see if we can fig­ure out how to stop it.”

BILL RU­DICK — FOR DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

Unionville’s Joe Zu­bi­laga leaves Ox­ford de­fend­ers in his wake Fri­day night.

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