Garnet Valley Holds Off Haverford’s Late Rally To Stay Undefeated
Entering this game the Haverford Fords were 3-2 while the Garnet Valley Jaguars were undefeated at 5-0. Garnet Valley’s defense knew they were going to have a busy night containing Haverford’s senior running back, number 32 Dante Pergolese, who has rushed for over 750 yards already coming into this game. Also the Jaguars defense had to keep their eye on Haverford’s quarterback Liam McGrath as he runs the spread offense.
Garnet Valley received the ball first once again but could not come up with a score when the Jags went for the first down on fourth and four. They could not convert and had to punt the ball away. Then it was Haverford’s turn using their senior running back Dante Pergolese as he was finding lanes to run through for the extra yards and getting two consecutive first downs. Haverford threaten but could not score.
The Jaguars wanted to score first and on the very next drive after moving down the field with Tim Keyser rushing down to the goal line, Jared Bonacquisti found the end zone from one yard out and scored to make it 7-0 Jaguars as the first quarter ended. On Haverford’s next drive quarter back Liam McGrath dropped back threw a screen pass to Dante Pergolese, but the play was called back due to a holding penalty which would have been a big first down for the Fords. Haverford decided to go for the first down on fourth and four but Pergolese came up just two yards short and the Jaguars received the ball on the turnover.
The Jaguars were in the red zone once again and on fourth and two, quarterback Mark McHugh gave the ball to Tim Keyser who rushed for six yards and a first down. A few plays later, Jared Bonacquisti scored another one yard touchdown with little time left in the first half, and the Jaguars took a two touchdown lead going into half time 14-0.
To start the second half the Fords came out looking to score as quarter back Liam McGrath was dodging tackles and getting first downs, but then on third and long the Jaguars junior linebacker Eric Warden came up with a huge sack which forced the Fords to punt. Eric Warden described the play, “On the play we dropped back into cover four because we didn’t want to give anything long and we knew if we pressured him he wouldn’t be able to get the ball off, so we dropped everyone and blitzed off the edge and I got lucky and got in there to take the sack.”
On the Jaguars next drive they went for it again on fourth and two and Mark McHugh threw a screen pass to Bonacquisti, as he made a few jukes, he got five yards and a first down.Which led to a three yard touchdown run by Tim Keyser to make the score 21-0, Jaguars. Keyser said “I had some great blocking which helped me bounce plays to the outside and there was great perimeter blocking from Bonacquisti, Irving, Dunn, and Palaio.”
Being down by 21 points with only a quarter and a half to go Haverford’s defense needed a stop. The pressure came as Mark McHugh stepped back to pass, the ball was tipped and intercepted by six foot one Nick Rossino. He almost scored but got tackled on the five yard line. On the very next play Haverford scored as McGrath threw a five yard touchdown pass to full back Anthony Wright. The Fords now knew they were only down by two scores. Haverford quickly got the ball back on a fumble recovery, as they threatened to get another first down, consecutive penalties stalled their drive.
With not much time left Haverford’s quarterback Liam McGrath found a lane and took off on a 45 yard touchdown run and tightened the Jaguars lead to just seven with a minute and twenty seconds to go. So it all came down to an onside kick for the Fords whether or not they could threaten again. Senior kicker Kevin Martin set the ball up on the tee, had the returning team on his right side, kicked the ball lightly, and as the football took a few bounces the Jaguars jumped on the ball. This sealed the win and after all the excitement the Jaguars calmly ended the game on a knee with a 21-14 victory. With this win, for the first time in two seasons the Jaguars stayed undefeated through six weeks of football.
Next week the Haverford Township Fords will have another tough test on the road against Conestoga, while the undefeated (6-0) Garnet Valley Jaguars travel to play Springfield on Friday night. Head coach of Garnet Valley, Mike Ricci said “Springfield is a team on the rise; they have been playing a lot of teams very tough. They’re getting better and better every week and we’re going to have to be prepared to play them”.
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