Indians impress in runaway road win
RADNOR >> For Unionville Friday night, a good ball-control offense was the Indians’ best defense in a 28-7 win against Radnor in the District 1 5A quarterfinals at Prevost Field.
“The key tonight was our ability to run the football,” said Unionville head coach Pat Clark. “Radnor has a really explosive offense, but we kept them off the field, and we finished
our drives in the second half.”
Unionville gained 268 yards rushing on 63 carries Friday night, led by junior running back Connor Schilling (30 carries for 174 yards) and senior quarterback Nick Schnaars (21 carries for 83 yards). The Indians picked up 21 first downs, compared to eight for Radnor.
Radnor head coach Tom Ryan said, “We tried everything – we mixed and matched on defense, and I just didn’t have an answer for their run game. Coach Clark does a heck of a job over there – that’s a heck of a football team we just played.”
Unionville (6-6), the 11th seed in District 1 5A will advance to play No. 2 Upper Dublin in the district semifinals, while the season is over for No. 3 Radnor (9-3). Upper Dublin shut out Cheltenham 27-0 Friday.
The Indians ground out a touchdown on their first possession, a 12-play, 68-yard drive capped by a 26-yard TD pass from Schnaars to Alex Pelegrin with 7:33 left in the first quarter.
Radnor took just 16 seconds to tie the score. On the Raiders’ first play from scrimmage, quarterback Sean Mullarkey hit Teddy Girton with a jump pass, and the senior wide receiver took it all the way to the end zone for a 64-yard touchdown to make it 7-7.
Unionville controlled the ball in the first half, picking up 12 first downs to Radnor’s three, and maintaining a 40-18 edge in plays run, but penalties (seven for 45 yards in the first half) and two unproductive field goal attempts temporarily stalled the Indians’ attack and the score remained 7-7 at halftime.
Radnor received the secondhalf kickoff and moved the ball into Unionville territory, but on 4th-and-6 from the Indians’ 26, a fourth-down pass headed toward the end zone was alertly broken up by Unionville senior Jeffrey Lang.
Then, the Indians’ running attack took over. Unionville’s first possession was 15 consecutive running plays for 74 yards – and a touchdown. By the time Schnaars plunged over from the 3 yard line for a TD, there was just 2:31 left in the third quarter.
Unionville head coach Pat Clark said, “Cole Sheehan, our senior center, has been the leader of our offensive line. We’re also playing four 11th-graders, and it took a few weeks for those four to round into form, and we’re kind of hitting our stride now.”
The four juniors are Austin Weeber, Ryan Son, Gabe D’Angelo and Michael Burns. D’Angelo replaced another junior, co-captain Declan Boyle, out with an injury, several weeks ago.
“Jeffrey Lang at tight end also did a good job blocking for us tonight,” said Clark. “I’m really proud of the way our offensive line has worked and improved this season.”
Schilling said, “Our offensive line blocked amazingly tonight. Our offensive line stepped it up in the second half of the season. They opened up big holes I was able to run through tonight. We kind of shot ourselves in the foot in the first half tonight with penalties, but we picked it up in the second half.”
On the third play of Radnor’s next possession, Schnaars intercepted Mullarkey’s pass, giving Unionville the ball at the Raiders’ 35 yard line. The Indians marched downfield for another touchdown, using seven running plays and one pass. Schilling’s seven-yard TD run made it 21-7 with 9:02 left.
Radnor senior linebacker Kieran Sheridan said, “Unionville had a couple of drives, they definitely just pounded us defensively. You get worn down. It’s just tough.”
Defensively, there were many contributors for Unionville.
Unionville senior outside linebacker Alex Pelegrin, who intercepted a Radnor pass in the first half, said, “The key for us was being physical and fast the whole game. We locked down all of Radnor’s great skill players, and our defensive line played phenomenal. Our inside linebackers contained any crossers in the middle, and our d-backs shut them down.”
Clark said, “Whenever we needed to make a play on defense tonight, everybody out there stepped up. Alex was vocal out there, Eli Lyons on the nose was really good tonight, Gabe McLaughlin had a good game at inside linebacker, and Connor Schilling, after running with the ball most of the night, played great defense for us. Jeffrey Lang had that big fourthdown pass breakup.”
So it’s on to Upper Dublin for the defending District 1 champions next Friday, where they will face the Cardinals, who shut out No. 7 seed Cheltenham, 27-0, Friday night.
“I was really proud of our team tonight,” said Clark. “It’s nice to see us show up to play in November.”
“I was speechless at the end of the game,” said Pelegrin. “Getting a chance to go for the district championship again is a great feeling; words can’t describe it right now. We’re going to take what we learned from this game and move on to next week.
“Our team has great chemistry. We started off slow, but everyone is clicking, firing on all cylinders; it’s just all really coming together in the post-season, and I’m really excited to see how we keep playing. I’ll be watching game film tonight, getting ready for next week, and so will my teammates.”
Schilling said, “At the end of the game, I felt amazing, just knowing that we get to go to district semifinals, and keep going, try to defend our district title from last year.”
For Radnor’s Tom Ryan, it was a tough – but fond –farewell to 26 Raider seniors.
Unionville’s Nick Schnanns (2) scores a Touchdown in the third quarter Friday night at Radnor.
Unionville’s Connor Schilling (28) runs with the ball in the third quarter.