Celebrating Homecoming, Unionville defeats Oxford, 24-7
By Richard Gaw
By Richard L. Gaw, Staff Writer
Amid the pomp and pageantry of any Homecoming celebration – visiting alumni, the crowning of King and Queen, and the syncopated precision of a marching band – very often, the central component that brings all of these visuals together is played like an afterthought.
Not so last Friday evening at Unionville’s Homecoming.
Behind a lights-out defensive, some superb special team opportunities, and the continued one-two punch of quarterback Brendan Boyle and running back Brandon Boon, the Indians jumped to first place in the Ches-Mont American (2-0) and 4-2 overall with a solid 24-7 victory over visiting Oxford.
After a late afternoon rain caused a 45-minute delay, Unionville jumped to a quick 8-0 lead early in the first quarter, when a pass interference call on Oxford moved the ball within the Hornet’s red zone. Carries by Boyle and Boon drove Unionville to the two yard-line, and with 3:44 left in the first quarter, Boon put the Indians on the board with a two-yard touchdown run, which was followed by a two-point conversion on a pass from Joe Zubillaga to Mark Knightly.
Meanwhile, Oxford quarterback Dan Green and running back Tim Davis could not engineer any offensive threats early in the game. On its second possession, Green attempted to punt from his own 10 yard-line but fumbled the snap, which was then recovered by Zubillaga, who scored with 2:40 left in the first quarter to give Unionville an early 15-0 lead.
Inheriting the ball on the 40 early in the second quarter, Unionville jumped to a 22-0 lead when Boyle tossed a perfect, over-the-shoulder pass to wide receiver Tyler Marmo for a 60-yard touchdown strike with 8:43 left in the half.
Oxford mounted its only scoring drive of the game deep into the second quarter, when a series of solid runs by Davis and a Green pass to wide receiver Brandon Deshields moved the ball to the Unionville 13 yard-line. A pass to wide receiver Michael Williams moved the ball to the nine yard-line, a pitch to Davis ended on the one-yard line, and with 2:11 left in the first half, Green plunged in for the touchdown.
With 7:56 left in the third quarter, Green was again stopped on a punt attempt, when linebacker Trevor Gardiner blocked the punt for a safety to give the Indians a 24-7 lead, which they held for the remainder of the game. If there was a defensive effort that stood out for Unionville, it was Gardiner, who recorded three-and-a-half sacks on the evening, in addition to the blocked punt.
"I thought defensively we were solid, and our special teams were effective," said Unionville Head Coach Pat Clark. "We’ve been dealing with four or five kids out of the line-up, and our timing was a little off, but we’re still in first place in the league, we bounced back and held them to seven points. I’m really proud of the way this team played hard."
Currently standing atop the Ches-Mont American after a convincing Homecoming victory, perhaps the truest test for Unionville this season will come this Saturday afternoon, when they host Great Valley, who is 5-1 overall and 2-1 in the conference. With an effective offensive scheme largely based on its running game, Clark said that little in the offensive way of things is likely to change for the remainder of the season.
"We’ve historically been a run-first team and (Boyle and Boon) are two guys who can make big plays for us," he said. "Coming down the stretch, it’s going to be Boyle and Boon and Marmo and Nash. That’s who we’re going to ride with."
With the loss, Oxford fell to 1-2 in the Ches-Mont American and 1-5 overall. The Hornets travel to Bishop Shanahan this Friday night.
To contact Staff Writer Richard L. Gaw, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org