Unionville runs over Oxford, 49-2210/26/2021 09:10PM ● By Richard Gaw
Unionville quarterback Matt McCloskey (11) engineered his team to a convincing 49-22 victory over Oxford on Oct. 22. The win extended the Longhorn’s winning streak in the Ches-Mont American Division.
By Richard L. Gaw
For those Oxford High School fans attending Senior Night last Friday evening, it was a pageantry of sorts, as each graduating member of the school’s varsity football team was introduced and given an honorary walk with his parents and relatives along the maroon-colored track in front of an appreciative crowd.
At halftime, graduating seniors from the school’s cheerleading squad and school band were given equal recognition, but for those who came to watch the home team on the football field, the cheering stopped there.
The Unionville Longhorns used a balanced attack that saw five different players score touchdowns in a 49-22 victory over the Hornets, including two touchdowns each by Brendan Bennink and Joseph King.
Unionville scored its first touchdown of the night on an 80-yard drive led by quarterback Matt McCloskey that saw him gain 26 yards on two carries to get the ball near midfield. Three consecutive carries by Bennink moved the ball to the 4-yard line, which was followed by a 4-yard untouched TD run with 2:10 left in the quarter that staked the Longhorns to a 7-0 lead.
Early in the second quarter, King stutter-stepped his way for a 10-yard run that moved the ball to the Oxford 25-yard line, and with 9:55 left in the first half, he followed his blockers on the next play for a 25-yard touchdown run that jumped the Unionville lead to 14-0.
Meanwhile, the scoring combination of Oxford quarterback Dustin Long and running back Dom Pantalone began to get on track deep in the second period. A 5-yard run by Long moved the chains to the 25-yard line, which was followed by two rushes by Pantalone that got the ball to the 38. With 5:35 left in the first half, however, the Unionville defense chased Long to the sidelines that led to a rushed pass and an interception by Matt D’Amico that gave the ball to the Longhorns on their own 40-yard line. After an Oxford penalty and runs by King and McCloskey, McCloskey found receiver Luke Schriver in the end zone for a leaping TD catch with 3:44 left in the first half that extended Unionville’s lead to 21-0.
On its next possession, Oxford mounted its most impressive touchdown drive of the game that began on a 26-yard pass from Long to Luke Piskun that moved the ball to midfield. A follow-up toss from Long to receiver Dak Jones gained 37 yards and got Oxford to the Unionville 17-yard line, which was followed by carries by Long and Pantalone that put the ball on the 3-yard line. With 18 seconds left in the half, a reverse hand-off by Long to Jones gave Oxford its first score of the game, which was then followed by a two-point conversion on a 7-yard run by Long.
Heading into the second half with a 21-8 lead, the Longhorns added to their scoring on a 1-yard TD plunge by Bennink with 7:08 left. It was again time for the double threat of Long and Pantalone to answer back, and with 3:40 remaining in the third quarter and the ball near midfield, Pantalone burst through defenders for a 48-yard sprint that gave the Hornets the ball on the Longhorn 1-yard line. After Long was sacked for a short loss on fourth-and-three, he sprinted to the home side of the field, launched himself high above defenders and plunged into the end zone with just under two minutes left in the quarter that chopped Unionville’s lead in half, and after a two-point conversion was good on a pass from Long to Zach Miller, Oxford saw themselves down by less than two touchdowns, 28-16.
The home team’s momentum was to be short-lived, however. On Unionville’s first snap on their 38-yard line, King bolted for a 62-yard touchdown with 1:44 remaining in the third, giving the Longhorns a commanding 35-16 lead.
Early in the last quarter, Unionville cushioned their lead entirely on the legs and arm of McCloskey, who rushed 15 yards to get the ball to the Oxford 36-yard line, tossed a pass to Brendan D’Amico that pushed the ball to the 23, rushed for another 8 yards and scored on a QB keeper with 10:29 left in the game that gave Unionville a commanding 42-16 lead.
After a pretty 22-yard touchdown pass from Long to Jones with 8:16 left made the score 42-22, Unionville tacked on its final score on a 19-yard TD pass from McCloskey to Brendan D’Amico with 4:44 left in the game.
With the win, Unionville remained undefeated and atop the Ches-Mont American Division at 6-0 (8-1 overall), and will host visiting Great Valley in a conference game on Oct. 29. Now 3-3 in the Ches-Mont American and 5-5 overall, Oxford will travel to Henderson for a conference game on Oct. 29.
To contact Staff Writer Richard L. Gaw, email [email protected].