Like kidnapping your arch-rival's mascot the night before the big game, one or more unidentified individuals, presumably from Kennett, broke into Unionville High School's stadium prior to last weekend's football showdown between the two neighboring schools and spray-painted various Kennett stuff in a number of different places on the field and in the bleachers.
As it turned out for Kennett, that would be their only source of amusement from this one.
That's because the visiting Blue Demons basically came into Unionville last Saturday afternoon and fumbled away any chances they may have had of upsetting the defending Southern Chester County League champion Indians. It was indeed a comedy of errors. Kennett committed four first-half fumbles, including the opening kickoff, and Unionville pounced on those chances like sharks sensing blood in the water en route to completely blowing out the Blue Demons by a score of 35-6.
Unionville (5-1 overall, 3-0 league) rushed for 263 yards and turned five Kennett turnovers into 28 points to send its big homecoming day crowd away happily. The game, which was originally scheduled for Friday night, was pushed back to Saturday due to a wet field and the threat of rain.
"Some Kennett kids came in here and wrote on our field, and we took that as a personal challenge," said Unionville senior running back Eric DiProspero, who scored his fifth touchdown of the season in the win. "Plus Kennett came out and said a few things prior to the game that didn't sit well with us. We were chomping at the bit to come out and just completely dominate them, and that's exactly what we did. It was all about pride."
Unionville senior running back Joe Mulvihill rushed for a game-high 93 yards on 15 carries and also scored two touchdowns, both of which came in the first half to help stake the Indians to a 20-0 lead at the break. Mulvihill's first score, a 3-yard run, came on Unionville's initial possession of the game right after Kennett fumbled away the opening kickoff. Then after Scott Cloud (85 yards on seven carries) found the endzone on a 14-yard run in the second quarter to put Unionville up 14-0, Mulvihill again hit paydirt, this time on a 5-yard run, after Kennett struggled to pickup the ensuing kickoff and the Indians converged on the fumble.
DiProspero added a 1-yard touchdown run in the third quarter, and then moments later Jon Gill intercepted a pass and returned it 30 yards to up the Indians lead to 35-0. At that point, the mercy rule took effect, with the clock continuously running from the third quarter on.
Unionville, whose only loss was a 21-20 nonleague setback to Avon Grove, has outscored its opposition 181-20 in its five wins so far this season.
Kennett (2-4 overall, 0-2 league) has now dropped three straight games. With senior quarterback Justin Clark returning from a broken foot to play against Unionville, the Blue Demons were able to move the ball at times. They racked up 239 yards of total offense (77 rushing, 162 passing), but were unable to find the end zone until Clark scored on a 3-yard run in the fourth quarter once the game was long decided. Mike Cangi led Kennett with 80 yards rushing on 10 carries, and also caught six passes for 82 yards.
For Unionville's defense, they may have bent here and there, but they certainly didn't break when it mattered most.
Kennett had averaged nearly 400 yards a game and 28 points a contest in its three prior ballgames with Clark in the lineup.
"Our defense was the story today. They played great," said Unionville head coach Pat Clark, who credited the effort of linebacker Colton Vosburgh for holding Kennett senior tight end Corey Medina in check. "With Justin back for them, our goal was to put as much pressure on Kennett as we could.
"Their turnovers were big because they gave us all the momentum, and we were able to take those and control the clock and put points on the board. Jim Donato has built a great program in two years, and this win was huge for us. It's such a big rivalry and our kids played so hard."
Unionville has now outscored Kennett 62-6 in winning both lifetime meetings between the two schools.
But more importantly for the Indians, they moved to 3-0 in the SCCL as they look to defend its title.
"This game was so big for our championship hopes," said Unionville junior quarterback Matt Carroll. "Our offensive line did an awesome job today and we knew this game would come down to that.
"Kennett can talk all the smack they want," added Carroll, "but we let our play on the field do all our talking."
Unionville travels to Garnet Valley this Friday night for a showdown between not only the top two teams in the SCCL, but District 1 AAA as well. The game is scheduled to kickoff at 7 p.m.
Garnet Valley (5-0 overall) and Unionville are the only undefeated teams left in the league, and are ranked first and second in the current district playoff points standings.
Kennett, meanwhile, has a chance to get back on track this weekend as they bus to Harriton (4-2 overall) for a 3 p.m. game on Saturday.