Energized Fords drive past Red Devils
Going into tonight’s contingency game, both teams had chips on their shoulders. A 6-3 Haverford team had just missed the playoffs, and an Avon Grove team with a 1-9 record wanted to end their season on a positive note, with a victory for the seniors’ final game.
“It’s a team effort, everyone played their hearts out tonight for the seniors. They played their hearts out for their last game in this stadium,” Avon Grove senior quarterback Tanner Peck said.
The Haverford Fords defeated the Avon Grove Red Devils by a close score of 15-7. This was Avon Grove’s second game this season where they had given up under 20 points. The other victory for the Red Devils came against Kennett in Week 1. “It was sad to go out like that but it was definitely a fun season,” Peck said.
The game against Haverford would be Peck’s final football game ever. He will sign his Division I lacrosse commitment with Penn State on November 18. He said that he has always idolized Avon Grove football and it is where many of his athletic memories were made.
“It means a whole lot. There’s a bunch of memories here, all playing football since I was a freshman,” Peck reflected on the meaning of tonight’s contingency game.
The Red Devil defense had a jolting start in the first quarter. Junior Kyle Speer forced a fumble on the Fords’ first offensive drive. Senior Michael Tipton began a memorable night by recording two tackles within seconds of each other. The first tackle was his first sack of the night.
“We all connected and it was just a team effort to get this defense together,” said Avon Grove senior Michael Tipton. “Our defense really stepped up and played the whole game,” Red Devil senior Stephen McDannald commented.
Haverford ran a “Wildcat” type play to score their first touchdown. Senior Jai Thornton scored a three yard touchdown for the Fords. Haverford led 6-0 due to a missed extra point attempt.
The Red Devils fired back with a 26 yard return from senior Austin Radecki. Quarterback Tanner Peck continued to throw to Radecki with the absence of sophomore Beau Kush. With under a minute left in the first quarter, Peck overthrew a potential touchdown pass to Radecki.
“We had some good runs and good passes but we shot ourselves in the foot a lot,” Peck said.
Twenty seconds later, freshman Nate Jones caught a 33-yard pass from Peck to convert a fourth down and 20. Jones then scored a touchdown for the Red Devils. A successful field goal attempt by Anthony Scarpato gave Avon Grove a 7-6 lead. Avon Grove began their first drive of the second quarter on their own one-yard line. Avon Grove committed a safety which gave Haverford an 8-7 lead.
Haverford’s Jai Thornton gained 31 yards on the ground to get his team into scoring position. The Avon Grove defense made a triumphant defensive stop that forced the Fords to attempt another field goal. The Haverford field goal attempt was no good.
Avon Grove defenders Drew Saienni and Kyle Speer sacked Haverford quarterback Jack Donaghy. Jai Thornton ran two straight 15+ yard runs for the Fords. Donaghy threw a 24 yard pass to senior Chris Lyons. Lyons’ 24-yard gain resulted in a 12-yard touchdown. Lyons’ touchdown would be the game-winning touchdown.
Senior Michael Tipton continued his memorable night by earning his second sack. Tipton finished the night with six tackles, one assist and two sacks.
Tipton truly believes he stepped up his game tonight. For him, it was the perfect ending for his first season playing football. His transformation from not knowing how to get into a defensive stance or knowing what a right tackle is, was amazing according to Tipton.
“I think I really did well in these past few games, especially tonight. It’s my last time ever playing on this field and it was a really exceptional experience,” Tipton commented on his performance.
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