On a night when pride, reputation, and most importantly, bragging rights, were on the line, Henderson’s Spencer Rymiszewski came ready to play.
Coming off a heartbreaking 6-0 loss to Downingtown West last week, the West Chester Henderson Warriors (5-1) were eager to have a strong performance against cross-town rival West Chester Rustin. They did just that, opening the game with a long drive featuring running back Rymiszewski. The senior capped off the drive with a 5-yard run to the end zone making the score 7-0, where it would stay for the remainder of the first quarter.
Following a drive that took Rustin to the Henderson 12 yard line, the Knights were unsuccessful at punching it into the end zone and were forced to settle for a 28 yard Dylan Jenkins field goal. Overall, in the first half, the Rustin defense did a good job of containing Henderson’s strong running game with the exception of a couple of plays. “Rustin is a tough, well coached team. We knew what we were going up against,” said Henderson head coach Steve Mitten about the opposition.
On the next Henderson possession, Rustin’s Dan Walls intercepted a Spencer Rymiszewski pass attempt, shifting the momentum. The two-way playing Rymiszewski wouldn’t have it, though, and he made amends with an interception of his own on a Dave Fithian pass. This would spur a long, seven minute drive down inside the Rustin 20 yard line. The Warriors would come up empty after a missed field goal and the half ended with Henderson ahead 7-3.
Early in the third, theWarriors found themselves pinned within their own 5 yard line due to a mishandled punt, but quickly recovered when Rymiszewski coasted 96 yards to the end zone extending the Warriors lead to 14-3. The rest of the third quarter looked promising for the Knights when they strung together a few impressive runs by running backs Adam Burke and Terry Loper. Quarterback Fithian kept it going by completing a beautiful pass to wide receiver Brendan Dougherty down the left sideline for a 26-yard gain. The Knights fought their way inside the Henderson 20, where they would attempt a much deserved field goal but the stingy Henderson defense wouldn’t let it happen as senior linebacker Adam Weaver blocked the attempt.
The fourth quarter was all Henderson with Rymiszewski intercepting a Fithian pass at the Rustin 12-yard line, running it in for the final score of the game.
Defense was the difference yet again for this Henderson team with senior leadership from standouts Weaver, Declan Kane, Chris Mitten and Phil Mitten. “The seniors have been great leading this team all year. They were key tonight” added Coach Mitten regarding his core of upperclassmen. “Some of our key players don’t show up on that stat sheet like Nigel Thompson. If you watch the film, he has guys on skates all game out there.”
Henderson hosts Coatesville (5-2) next week at J. Oscar Dicks Stadium while Rustin (5-2) meets Oxford (4-3) at home.