Ea­gles dom­i­nate on both sides of the ball in rout

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - SPORTS - By Peter DiGiovanni pd­gio­vanni07@gmail.com @PeteDLN on Twit­ter

DOWN­ING­TOWN >> Come district play­off time, coaches like to see their teams play­ing their best foot­ball.

Fri­day night at Jack Mancini Field, Bishop Shana­han head coach Paul Mey­ers had his wish granted. The Ea­gles put on a clinic as they dom­i­nated West Chester Rustin, 41-7, in the first round of the District 1 5A play­offs. The Ea­gles will now travel to Acad­emy Park next Fri­day for a date with the sec­ond-seeded Knights.

Bishop Shana­han (8-3), the seven seed, struck early as the Ea­gles took the open­ing kick­off and drove 65 yards on nine plays with Bren­dan Dear­ing catch­ing a seven-yard touch­down pass from Nick Skulski for a quick 7-0 lead.

No. 10 Rustin (5-6) was on its heels im­me­di­ately.

“The se­niors had a meet­ing be­fore the game,” Bishop Shana­han head coach Paul Mey­ers said. “And Nick Skulski and Josh Burke started it and they said we wanted to score the first time we had the ball and not to punt the ball to them all night.”

That wish was granted, as well, as Shana­han never punted the ball away while the Ea­gles de­fense clamped down on Rustin, al­low­ing just 115 yards rush­ing and 32 through the air as the Golden Knights of­fense did not score a point. Dear­ing, Mac Barry and Kevin Jones had big games for the Shana­han de­fense.

Shana­han also tok a 13-0 lead the sec­ond time the of­fense touched the ball, as John Kozin­ski hauled in a three-yard bul­let from Skulski to make it a 13-0 game. The Ea­gles drove down the field with Joe Gueriera and Josh Burke lead­ing the way. Gueriera had 74 yards on 17 car­ries, while Burke to­taled 98 yards on just 13 car­ries. Skulski was bril­liant, fin­ish­ing 13-for-16 through the air. The Ea­gles ran up 372 to­tal yards against the Rustin de­fense and Bren­dan Dear­ing had a big night, catch­ing six passes for 94 yards and a touch­down to go with a de­fen­sive in­ter­cep­tion in the sec­ond quar­ter.

“We re­ally wanted to come out and score right away,” Skulski said. “and when we did our con­fi­dence re­ally went up. Our of­fen­sive line and our de­fense re­ally dom­i­nated the game. We re­ally wanted to score early and when we did we re­ally came alive.”

Rustin gam­bled on its third drive of the game, al­ready down 13-0. The Golden Knights went for it on a fourth and two in their own territory. But, the Ea­gles de­fense would have none of it as Bran­don Fra­zier was stuffed and Shana­han was in busi­ness again. The Ea­gles quickly moved the ball from the 40-yard line to the five, and two Joe Gueriera runs later, the Ea­gles were up 19-0.

“Our of­fen­sive line opened up some big holes for me tonight,” Gueriera said. “About the only thing I can say is that they dom­i­nated the game for us tonight.”

Rustin showed some life af­ter the Gueriera score when Pat Reg­is­ter ran the en­su­ing kick­off back 91 yards to make it a 19-7 game and bring the Golden Knights’ side­line to life. But, Bren­dan Dear­ing re­turned the fa­vor on the en­su­ing Rustin kick­off, weav­ing his way down the left side of the field 84 yards, and just like that, Shana­han had the mo­men­tum back.

“It was real im­por­tant that Bren­dan ran the kick­off back af­ter they scored,” Skulsk said. “Af­ter they scored, it was huge for us to get them right back. It got our mojo back for us.”

The Ea­gles ce­mented their win as they took the sec­ond half kick­off and drove 74 yards on six plays and took over four min­utes off the clock. The scor­ing drive ended with Burke bar­rel­ing in from eight yards out for a 34-7 lead. From that point on, it was only a mat­ter of time be­fore Shana­han could look ahead to next week’s tilt against the de­fend­ing district cham­pion, Acad­emy Park.

“It was a to­tal team win tonight,” Mey­ers said. “All there phases of the game of­fense, de­fense and spe­cial teams were all good tonight. And Nick was great for us tonight.”

NATE HECKENBERGER — FOR DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

Bishop Shana­han’s Bren­dan Dear­ing dives to catch a pass that was tipped by West Chester Rustin’s JT Aloisio in the third quar­ter.

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