Unionville turns de­fen­sive to sting Spring-Ford, 26-17

The Phoenix - - SPORTS - By Rob Se­nior For Dig­i­tal First Me­dia

Be­fore the sea­son, Unionville head foot­ball coach Pat Clark proudly lauded his pro­gram’s his­tory of stout de­fense. He al­lowed, how­ever, that in­ex­pe­ri­ence might cause the In­di­ans’ of­fense to carry the load early this sea­son, while the de­fense gets up to speed.

Af­ter Fri­day night, Clark was will­ing to give him­self half credit.

Unionville’s se­nior-laden of­fense was con­sis­tent, but the young de­fense was the real story as the In­di­ans avenged a sea­sonopen­ing de­feat last year, top­ping Spring-Ford, 26-17.

The In­di­ans’ at­tack was led by se­nior Joe Zu­bil­laga, who did a lit­tle bit of ev­ery­thing. “Zoob” had 152 rush­ing yards, 39 re­ceiv­ing yards and seven tack­les in lead­ing the de­fen­sive ef­fort. The In­di­ans lim­ited Spring-Ford se­nior QB TJ Pergine to 11-36 pass­ing, con­stantly ha­rass­ing the passer and giv­ing him lit­tle time to throw.

“We tried to make them oned­i­men­sional by lim­it­ing the run game,” said Clark, “and that was to our ben­e­fit against a player like Pergine. Our strength is in the se­condary, and we were able to limit the (Rams’) of­fense as a re­sult.”

That se­condary got the In­di­ans off to a strong start when JT Hower in­ter­cepted a Spring-Ford pass on the first pos­ses­sion of the game, fol­lowed by a me­thod­i­cal nine-play drive cul­mi­nat­ing in Zu­bil­laga’s first of two rush­ing TDs.

Do­minic Brath­waite added a sec­ond-quar­ter field goal tomake it 10-0 Unionville, be­fore se­nior QB Alex Gor­gone cre­ates a nifty scram­ble to buy him­self time and loft a 26-yard TD pass to Ai­dan Boyle for a 17-0 lead.

“We dug our­selves a hole early on,” lamented Spring-Ford head coach Chad Brubaker, “and ev­ery time we started to climb out of it, they’d make a play or we’d slip and make a mis­take.”

Mean­while, the Unionville de­fense was hold­ing Spring-Ford to 62 first-half to­tal yards. Stephen Brill’s 25-yard run got the Rams into Unionville ter­ri­tory with two min­utes to play be­fore the half, but a fum­ble on the en­su­ing play quelled the threat.

Spring-Ford, which was ranked No. 10 in the PA Prep Live pre­sea­son Top 20, got some mo­men­tum with a blocked punt af­ter half­time, fol­lowed by a 3-yard plunge by Justin DeFrancesco to cut the lead to 17-7. Af­ter a quick Unionville three-and-out, Pergine’s legs got the Rams go­ing of­fen­sively, as he kept the ball on sev­eral zone reads and com­piled 47 rush­ing yards in one drive. Ju-

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