Rustin shows re­solve while sav­ing sea­son

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - SPORTS - Peter DiGio­vanni Colum­nist

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.

PETE BAN­NAN — DIGITAL FIRST ME­DIA FILE

Ty Pringle’s re­turn to the Rustin lineup has been huge for the Golden Knights in turn­ing around their sea­son.

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