Hen­der­son runs past Avon Grove

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - FOOTBALL FRIDAY - By Neil Geoghe­gan ngeoghe­gan@21st-cen­tu­ry­media.com @NeilMGeoghe­gan on Twit­ter

WEST CH­ESTER >> For an out­fit that doesn’t throw the foot­ball much, West Ch­ester Hen­der­son came up with a pair of crit­i­cal touch­down passes from quar­ter­back Joe Saulino to Nick Mascetti en route to a 35-13 Home­com­ing vic­tory over vis­it­ing Avon Grove on Fri­day at J. Os­car Dicks Sta­dium.

The War­riors’ tri­umph put a halt to a three-game los­ing skid and se­cured their first Ches-Mont Na­tional vic­tory of the sea­son. Now 1-3 (4-3 over­all), The War­riors will host Down­ing­town West next week.

“We still made quite a few mis­takes,” said Hen­der­son head coach Steve Mit­ten. “I tell the kids that foot­ball teaches you a lot about your­self, but it’s al­ways much bet­ter to learn those lessons while win­ning.”

Cling­ing to a one-point half­time lead, the War­riors shutout the Red Devils the rest of the way and took ad­van­tage of su­pe­rior field po­si­tion to push three more TDs across the goal line. Avon Grove falls to 0-3 in the di­vi­sion, and 3-4 over­all.

“We com­peted well in the first half, but I don’t think we com­peted as hard in the sec­ond half,” Devils’ head coach Harry O’Neill said. “Once Hen­der­son got up, my guys just aren’t good right now play­ing from be­hind.”

With C.J. Pre­ston lead­ing the way, Hen­der­son rolled up a 251155 edge run­ning the foot­ball. And even though Saulino com­pleted just three of his 10 pass at­tempts, the two to scor­ing strikes to Mascetti were dif­fer­ence mak­ers. The first came in the fi­nal minute of the first half, and put the War­riors on top for good. The sec­ond came in the third quar­ter on fourth-and-long.

“We were for­tu­nate to make a play at the end of the half, and we took ad­van­tage of a cou­ple short fields in the sec­ond half, and that was the dif­fer­ence,” Mit­ten pointed out.

The score that made it 21-13 – a 34-yard catch and run by Mascetti – came on not long af­ter a 12-yard Avon Grove punt.

The sec­ond of three short-field scores in the sec­ond half came af­ter an in­ter­cep­tion by Hen­der­son’s Noah Demi. A few plays later, Saulino scored on a 14-yard keeper. The third came cour­tesy of an Avon Grove fum­ble that was re­cov­ered by the War­riors’ Kyle McTer­nan. That led to a short scor­ing burst by Pre­ston early in the fourth quar­ter.

“Field po­si­tion was ev­ery­thing in this game,” Mascetti said.

“We are not good enough to over­come mis­takes, and com­pete in this di­vi­sion,” added O’Neill. “We had a lot of snaps on the ground out of the shot­gun, and then ev­ery sin­gle time they got the ball in the sec­ond half, it was good field po­si­tion.”

Hen­der­son’s speedy Kavond Jones scam­pered 53 yards on a re­verse to open the scor­ing, and the War­riors held on, 7-6, even af­ter the Devils’ Nate Jones later scored on a nine yard run, thanks to a blocked point af­ter at­tempt.

In the sec­ond quar­ter, a failed fake punt by Hen­der­son gave Avon Grove a short field, and mo­ments later, Jones scored again on a run that cov­ered 16 yards. But the War­riors put to­gether an 11-play, 50-yard march to re­gain the lead, 14-13 at the half. The touch­down – an 11 yard pass from Saulino to Mascetti – came with just 6.8 sec­onds on the clock.

Pre­ston fin­ished with 88 yards on 21 car­ries, and Saulino chipped in with 62 yards on the ground.

“We were for­tu­nate to make some plays and come out with the win,” Mit­ten said.

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