TREDYFFRIN >> At halftime of Friday night’s Central League clash, Conestoga and Haverford High seemed to have a lot to play for when they came out of the locker room.
An hour or so later, it was only the Fords who left happy.
Haverford (1-2, 1-1) scored 30 points in the second half and rolled to its first win of the season in a 37-0 shutout of Conestoga.
Fords’ head coach Joe Gallagher said he didn’t say anything different to the team at halftime. Just the same thing he’s said all season.
“You know who the playmakers are, you’ve got to make plays,” Gallagher told his team.
Haverford running back Kareem Bernard lined up next to QB Jake Ruane on Conestoga’s 30-yard line in the third quarter as the Fords decided to go for it on fourth-and-10. Just when Conestoga’s linemen thought they had Ruane sacked, he tossed it to Bernard, who had been waiting patiently for the screen to set up. The senior tailback followed a convoy of linemen up the field as he scored untouched from 30 yards out.
From that point, the rout was on.
Bernard was the biggest key in Haverford’s offense, scoring two touchdowns rushing to go with his receiving touchdown. He had seven rushes for 33 yards and two receptions for 46 yards.
Ruane was efficient in the first half, completing eight passes in 12 attempts for 92 yards. The quarterback finished the game nine for 17 with 101 yards and one touchdown.
“We got shut out last week, so scoring 37 it’s big for us,” Ruane said.
When asked if he thinks the offense can do something like this again, Ruane smirked and said, “We’ll see, I think the offense can only get better from here.”
Conestoga struggled to gain field position in the third quarter.
The offense could not make it past its own 35-yard line. And when the Pioneers (0-3, 0-2) punted, Haverford was there to take advantage of the field position.
Conestoga head coach Marquis Weeks said the defense struggled because of the offense.
“It’s the offense going three and out and going backwards in the third ended up hurting the defense,” Weeks said.
Conestoga found itself on its own 5-yard line in the third quarter facing fourth and 10. Down 14-0 with 9:39 left in the third, the Pioneers were forced to punt.
Chris Trainor was returning for the Fords, and when he caught the punt he was off. Trainor slipped a couple of tackles to make his way 30 yards for a touchdown.
Gallagher called the punt return a pivotal moment in the game.
The defense for the Fords did not let up from start to finish. They managed to keep Conestoga in the negative for total yardage at minus-four yards. The Fords constantly swarmed Conestoga’s running backs in the backfield.
“Our defense last week held Ridley to 85 yards,” Gallagher said. “The defense is the heart and soul of the team. You always have a good chance when your defense is good.”
“This is the first game in the first half that we played the type of football we wanted to play,” Weeks said. “We feel like this is something we can grow off.”