Rustin shows resolve while saving season
You really take some things for granted in life. And you also take things for granted on the scholastic football front. Every season when you look at the Ches-Mont League American Division you think West Chester Rustin is the team to beat.
And why not? The Golden Knights, along with Unionville, have ruled the league since it was formed. But, this season the Knights struggled badly coming out of the gate. It is only now, in the midst of a five-game winning streak, that anybody is taking notice of Rustin. Injuries, bad penalties and turnovers cursed head coach Mike St. Clair’s team early in the season.
But right now Rustin finally has its projected starting backfield of Ty Pringle, Brandon Frazier and Kevin Sweeney all healthy at the same time.
The mercurial Pringle is a game breaking threat every time he touches the ball. Blessed with great speed and and the innate ability to always be tackled forward, Pringle is easily the best back in the American Division. Frazier and Sweeney are hard charging, in your face run-
ners that shoot between the tackles and keep the chains moving.
Injuries to Rustin’s offensive line were the big reasons the Knights started the season 1-4. Losses to West Chester East and West Chester Henderson stung the Knights, especially since St. Clair makes it a point to “Win West Chester” as the first stated goal every season. The next is to win the American Divison, and then win a playoff game.
The first two goals are out the window, but if the Golden Knights can knock off powerful Coatesville in the resgular season finale, they would host a game in the District 1 5A playoffs. A loss to Coatesville may still get the Golden Knights a home playoff game, and I don’t think anybody wants to play Rustin with the way the Knights are cruising right now. The Rustin defense has been solid all season, and with the offense getting healthy, they are a scary team in the 5A bracket.
Aside from getting healthy, the biggest reason the Knights did not fade away is the resolve of St. Clair, defensive coordinator Joe Carr and the rest of a very underrated staff that has been together a long time. Rustin has a saying they are very proud of: “Tradition never Graduates.” And that has taken hold in a very difficult season when a a team with weaker leaders would have folded and started thinking
about winter sports already.
But not Rustin. Not St. Clair. Not Joe Carr. I don’t know how far Rustin will go in the 5A playoffs, and the Coatesville game is going to be very tough for the Golden Knights. But the way this group regrouped and essentially saved its season shows heart, discipline and a belief in each other.
*** Malvern Prep defeated Haverford School 24-21 Saturday and it was the first time the Friars have downed the Fords since Aaron Brady took over the reins at Malvern three years ago. The path is still littered with trouble, as Penn Charter and Germantown Academy are capable of beating the Friars on any given day. But make no mistake. A giant hurdle was crossed by Brady and the Malvern program last Saturday.
*** St. Joseph’s Prep beat a good La Salle squad, 6335, Saturday and served notice to every other aspiring 6A playoff team that wants to go to Hershey that they will have to go through the Hawks. D’Andre Swift, a University of Georgia recruit, returned to the lineup and scored seven touchdowns. So let the complaints begin about public vs. private. Just don’t tell me about it. I, like many others, am tired of hearing it.
Peter DiGiovanni covers high school football for The Daily Local News. You can reach him at p dig io vanni07@g mail. com. Follow him on Twitter @PeteDLN.
Ty Pringle’s return to the Rustin lineup has been huge for the Golden Knights in turning around their season.