Zach Jones delivered a pair of touchdowns and Strafford Foster got back on track with a scoring pass to Jones and a touchdown run of his own as the Henderson High School football team topped West Chester East, 48-14, in the Ches-Mont National opener for both Saturday evening at Zimmerman Stadium.
The game, postponed from Friday night because of the inclement weather, was Henderson’s from early on as the Warriors led 14-0 after the first quarter and 41-6 at the half behind Jones, Foster, Jake Richard, Spencer Rymiszewski, Phil Mitten, number three quarterback James Bady and kicker Kyle Morton, who hit two field goals and 12 total points in a perfect placekicking performance.
It was a dynamic – and necessary -- performance from the Henderson offense, which was shut out at home last week in the loss to Plymouth-Whitemarsh in an effort that surprised most area high school football observers.
“There was a lack of focus in that game,” offered Henderson coach Joe Walsh. “I told them we have to play more as a team. They listened. We had a pretty good week of practice. We came out tonight and it showed.”
Jones opened the scoring on Henderson’s fourth play from scrimmage on a sweep right that covered 46 yards. He used his speed to get to the corner and when he turned upfield in full stride along the sideline, the East defenders could not catch him.
“We did a little soul-searching after last week’s game and we came to work,” offered Jones, whose second TD came on a fly pattern catch from Foster that covered 48 yards and brought the score to 30-6. We were upbeat. We knew we were better than last week. Everyone played a big role. Give credit to the offensive line.”
Coming off a 2-8 season and trying to improve under first year head coach Dan Ellis, East had its moments. The Vikings battled throughout and gave the home fans reason to cheer with a passing offense that connected often enough to produce two touchdowns and a two-point conversion.
Quarterback Jake Sheller hit Mike Brown for 26 yards and Eddie Anderson for 47 in the first scoring drive, a five-play, 71-yard march that culminated in a Steven Coffey one-yard run. Early in the fourth quarter, a five-play, 62-yard driving ended with Sheller hitting Pat Whelan for a 26-yard score and the pair combined again for the two-point conversion which accounted for the final score.
“Are we making progress? Other than wins and losses, yes,” offered Ellis, whose team dropped to 0-4 with a road game against Downingtown West on tap Friday night. “Not as quickly as I would like, but we are getting better. We’re making mental mistakes and that has to change. We’re trying to shift a whole mindset here. In order for Henderson and East to be a rivalry, we have to get a win. There’s not a quick fix.”
The Henderson highlight reel included a Michael Vick-like scramble by Richard, who found Rymiszewski just before crossing the line of scrimmage for a 44-yard, first quarter TD. In the second, Richard took a flea-flicker pitchback and found Mitten over the top for a 50-yard score that brought the score to 24-0.
Foster’s first connection to Jones covered 48 yards and made the score 30-6 and Foster scored on a four-yard quarterback option run just minutes later. In the second half, sophomore Garrett Girafalco and freshman Tre Green did the bulk of the work with Foster and Bady at quarterback, Bady scoring on a one-yard sneak early in the fourth.
“This performance tonight is what we believed we had coming into the season,” continued Walsh, whose team improved to 3-1 with a road game against Bishop Shanahan on tap for Saturday at 1 p.m. “We’re getting there.”