Garnet Valley Holds Off Upper Darby
In week six the Garnet Valley Jaguars traveled to Upper Darby Memorial Stadium to play the Upper Darby Royals. Last week the Jaguars won by 15 points against Springfield-Delco. The Royals suffered a 19 point loss to Penncrest. Even though the Royals’ record coming into this game was 1-4, the Jaguars knew they couldn’t take them lightly. “We knew coming in Upper Darby was not a 1-4 team. I know that was their record, but we had the utmost respect for Upper Darby. We knew they had great athletes” said Mike Ricci, head coach of Garnet Valley.
On the opening kickoff the Jaguars muffed the kick and the Royals recovered the football on the 30 yard line. It was the start the Royals were hoping for. The Royals didn’t waste any time capitalizing on the turnover. Junior quarterback, Terrance Bridgers, led the Royals down the field. On fourth and six on the 12 yard line, Bridgers gave his team the first score of the night. Just three minutes into the game and the Royals were on the score board first with a 7-0 lead.
Early on in the game the Jaguars had trouble moving the ball down field offensively. For the whole first quarter the football didn’t leave the Jaguars’ territory. Entering the second quarter the Royals decided to attempt a 32 yard field goal by John Sneh. The football sailed between the post and the Royals led by ten points, 10-0.
With the first half winding down the Jaguars wanted to put points on the board before halftime. With just over three minutes to go in the first half, the Jaguars needed to go 41 yards to score. After a 15 yard carry by junior Alex Warden and a 16 yard run by senior quarterback Mark McHugh the Jaguars were a few yards away from scoring. On second and goal senior running back Marcellus Irving delivered a three yard touchdown run to cut the Royals’ lead down to only three points going into halftime.
With the Royals threatening to score, Jaguars’ Ryan Woods intercepted. Again, the Jaguars didn’t miss out on the opportunity that was given to them. Irving scored again with a 39 yard touchdown run down the sidelines to give the Jaguars a four point lead, 14-10.
This game was all about capitalizing on turnovers. In the fourth quarter the Royals went for a first down on fourth and senior running back Robert Cornish was stuffed as he hit the Jaguars’ defensive wall and again the defense forced a turnover on downs. After McHugh threw a 19 yard pass to senior Ryan Woods he again went to the air, again to Woods. He caught an 8 yard touchdown reception to give the Jaguars a ten point lead. Coach Ricci said “The kids came out determined to execute on offense. We did not do a good job executing on offense in the first half because Upper Darby played well on defense, but I was really proud of our guys the way we came out in the second half and the way we played them.”
The Royals would not go down without a fight. Bridgers began to convert on third and fourth downs. With his quick speed it looked like the Royals were running a wildcat offense. He could either throw the ball or keep it. With the Royals continuing to try to find a way to win, their school band began to play the song, Don’t Stop Believing. While the band continued to play, the Royals answered their band and scored a touchdown with just over two minutes to go. The Royals were down by just four points and they weren’t going to stop believing.
Sneh attempted an onside kick but failed. Jaguars’ junior Jake Helms recovered the football as it bounced high into the air. After a turnover on downs by the Jaguars, the Royals had one last drive yet to try and win the game. Bridgers moved the ball down field with not much time left.
With just ten seconds left and the Royals only 30 yards away from scoring, Bridgers took the snap threw a prayer deep into the middle of the end zone but it was intercepted by Woods and the Jaguars won 20-16 in a wild finish! Woods said “We knew we couldn’t let them get in the end zone; they came out in trips and I was over the top and there was only a couple seconds left and they had to throw it into the end zone and I got the interception.”
The Garnet Valley Jaguars continue on the road and play Marple-Newtown, which will be the biggest game of the season so far for both teams. Marple-Newtown and Garnet Valley have identical records, 5-1. Upper Darby will travel to play Radnor as they look for their second win of the season.
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