Per­fect 10

Hen­der­son’s all-rush­ing, 10-play fi­nal drive clinches big win over Pa­tri­ots

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - SPORTS - By Bruce Adams badams@21st-cen­tu­ry­media.com @mline­s­ports on Twit­ter

West Ch­ester Hen­der­son’s po­tent rush­ing at­tack con­tin­ued to roll along smoothly Fri­day evening in a 17-10 win at Great Val­ley.

The War­riors ran the ball 10 straight times on a gamewin­ning 93-yard touch­down drive late in the fourth quar­ter. The star of the drive was ju­nior run­ning back CJ Pre­ston, who burst through the mid­dle for a 25-yard touch­down with 2:41 left.

The hard-run­ning, 5-foot11, 195-pounder fin­ished the night with 203 yards on 33 car­ries. Last week, in a 14-7 win against Down­ing­town West, Pre­ston ran for 266 yards on 24 car­ries.

“Our of­fen­sive line is re­ally click­ing now,” said Pre­ston. “We had good block­ing up front, and [fel­low run­ning back] Nick Mascetti was help­ing out too, run­ning hard. [Great Val­ley] was re­spect­ing Mascetti, be­cause he was run­ning for some good gains, too.”

Mascetti, a 6-foot, 180-pound se­nior, picked up 30 of the 93 rush­ing yards that the War­riors nav­i­gated in their win­ning touch­down drive.

“We found our run­ning game last week,” said Hen­der­son head coach Steve Mit­ten. “We were run­ning more of a

spread of­fense ear­lier in the year, and it’s a tes­ta­ment to our kids and their ex­e­cu­tion that we’ve been able to es­tab­lish our run­ning game.”

Mit­ten praised the en­tire Hen­der­son of­fen­sive line — se­nior cen­ter Nick Wier­man, se­nior left guard Bran­don Lyon, se­nior right guard Ryan Brida, se­nior left tackle Tyrees Swift-Josey and se­nior right tackle Thad­deus Robuck. Mit­ten also lauded se­nior tight end Kyle McTier­nan and se­nior wing back Ryan DiFabrizio.

The War­riors’ vic­tory Fri­day evening was their third con­sec­u­tive win and boosted their record to 6-3.

“This win might get us a home game in dis­tricts,” noted Mit­ten.

Hen­der­son built a 10-0 lead that held up un­til late in the sec­ond quar­ter. Bryce McEl­hiney’s 31yard field goal broke the scor­ing ice at the be­gin­ning of the sec­ond quar­ter, then mid­way through the sec­ond pe­riod Hen­der­son put to­gether a 77-yard scor­ing drive that fea­tur­ing eight straight run­ning plays, with 58 yards com­ing on four con­sec­u­tive runs up the mid­dle by Pre­ston. Hen­der­son QB Joe Saulino capped the drive with a one-yard scor­ing plunge that made it 10-0 with 6:27 left be­fore half­time.

But host Great Val­ley (54) fought back at the end of the first half. The Pa­tri­ots’ Ryan Hub­ley made a nice punt re­turn deep into Hen­der­son ter­ri­tory, and two plays later, Great Val­ley quar­ter­back Rob Geiss scored on an 11-yard scram­ble to make it 10-7 with 2:35 to play be­fore half­time.

Mid­way through the fourth quar­ter, Great Val­ley came all the way back, get­ting a 40-yard field goal from se­nior kicker Pat Sauer to tie the score at 1010 with 7:40 left. The Pa­tri­ots were get­ting some solid run­ning plays by Geiss and se­nior run­ning back Mark DeRober­tis, and the tal­ented Geiss, work­ing from the shot­gun for­ma­tion, was find­ing (and hit­ting) some open re­ceivers for short gains through­out the game.

The Pa­tri­ots have strug­gled a bit lately, los­ing three of their last four games. Com­ing into Fri­day’s con­test, Great Val­ley had lost five of its line­men to in­jury for the sea­son.

“Our kids don’t ever give up,” said Great Val­ley head coach Dan El­lis. “Our kids busted their tails tonight, but we’ve got to play well for four quar­ters. Our kids are dis­ap­pointed and hurt [af­ter the loss], but we’ve got to find a way to get over the wall.

“We played bet­ter de­fen­sively in the sec­ond half tonight - Hen­der­son con­trolled the ball on us in the first half.”

Hen­der­son re­sponded to Sauer’s game-tieing field goal with its 93-yard touch­down drive that took five min­utes off the clock. The 10-play drive con­sisted solely of a three-headed run­ning at­tack of quar­ter­back Joe Saulino (two car­ries, 16 yards), Mascetti (four car­ries, 30 yards) and Pre­ston (four car­ries, 47 yards). The War­riors only reached third down on the drive once, and Pre­ston’s 25-yard burst up the mid­dle into the end zone capped it.

Geiss led a last-ditch drive from the Great Val­ley 34 yard line all the way down to the Hen­der­son 13, but a fourth down pass into the end zone was in­ter­cepted by Mascetti to end the game. The War­riors made three in­ter­cep­tions Fri­day night, two by Mascetti.

“Great Val­ley is an ex­cel­lent of­fen­sive team, very well-coached, and to hold them to 10 points is quite an ac­com­plish­ment by our play­ers,” said Mit­ten, who par­tic­u­larly lauded Ryan Brida (line­backer), Ryan DiFabrizio (strong safety) and Joe Saulino (de­fen­sive back).

“Our kids don’t ever give up. Our kids busted their tails tonight, but we’ve got to play well for four quar­ters. Our kids are dis­ap­pointed and hurt [af­ter the loss], but we’ve got to find a way to get over the wall.” — Great Val­ley coach Dan El­lis

PETE BAN­NAN — DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

West Ch­ester Hen­der­son’s CJ Pre­ston runs in for a touch­down in the fourth quar­ter against Great Val­ley. Hen­der­son won, 17-10.

PETE BAN­NAN — DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

West Ch­ester Hen­der­son’s Nick Mascetti holds onto the ball af­ter in­ter­cept­ing it in the end zone to pre­serve Hen­der­son’s 17-10 lead with un­der a minute re­main­ing.

PETE BAN­NAN — DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

Great Val­ley run­ning back Mark DeRoberts presses for ex­tra yards in the third quar­ter as Hen­der­son’s Thad Robuck (66) and Dom Palmer (24) take him down.

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