HAVERFORD >> Jake Ruane threw his third touchdown pass of the evening in overtime Friday to spark Haverford to a 34-28 win over Garnet Valley on a crazy night of Central League football.
The super sophomore has 10 touchdown passes on the season for the Fords (4-2, 4-1 Central), who won their fourth straight start to jump back into the league race.
“Our big thing is we’re still the defending champs until otherwise proven,” Fords coach Joe Gallagher said.
Though the Fords led much of the game, they were cursed by odd bounces and strange occurrences on this misty, slippery night.
The Jaguars (4-2, 3-2) grabbed a 7-0 lead when Nick Westburg turned a Ruane throw that skidded off the fingertips of Kareem Bernard into a 39-yard pick-six.
The Fords got a few breaks of their own as senior Luke McCallion grabbed one of four fumbles lost by the Jaguars and rolled 30 yards to knot the score in the first quarter.
Shortly thereafter, Mike Romanofsky turned another fumble recovery into points as he burst 15 yards up the middle to make it 14-7 for Haverford.
The Fords didn’t trail the rest of the night as they built a 21-14 lead at the intermission, Chris Trainor catching a TD pass.
In the third quarter, the Fords made it a two-touchdown lead on Ruane’s 61-yard scoring pass to Jordan Mosley. Ruane pump-faked the double coverage into oblivion before lofting the ball for Mosley, who easily won the foot race down the Haverford sideline.
“Our playmakers made plays,” Gallagher said. “Mike Romanofsky, Kareem Bernard, Chris Trainor, Jordan Mosley. We lean on them to make big plays, and all four of those dudes did. Then we have a 10th grade quarterback that is in his sixth varsity game, and you’ve got to give him credit for that. He showed up. And in this setting? He just did a wonderful job. All of those guys just came through.”
PHOTO GALLERY: Haverford vs. Garnet Valley football
The Jaguars wouldn’t go away. Minutes after the turnover spree ended, the visitors jumped back into the game.
“We lost four fumbles and Haverford did a great job capitalizing on them,” Jaguars coach Mike Ricci said. “I just told the guys if we do what we’re supposed to do, we’re going to be just fine. We just need to execute our offense. We made a couple great defensive stands there and got the ball back and scored.”
Dom Bertone scored on a four-yard run, and Jacob Buttermore added his second TD run in a span of six-minutes, the latter tally knotting the game at 28 with 3 minutes remaining.
Buttermore had a sensational night as he erupted for 217 rushing yards to fuel the Jaguar offense.
Ruane, however, promptly marched the Fords down the field to position Sean Cannon for a 36-yard field goal that could have won it.
However the kick hit the right upright with 1:09 remaining, and the game went to OT.
At that point the Fords had to be wondering when they’d get a crazy bounce.
“You’ve just got to have hope,” Bernard said. “You can never give up. You’ve got to keep pushing, keep the team up. Things happen. You’ve got to leave it in the past, make another play. It’s a team sport. You’ve got to keep everybody’s heads up and push through it.”
In overtime, the Fords started first and survived a penalty to get into the end zone on Ruane’s 7-yard pass to Bernard.
“That’s a play we just put in the other day,” Ruane said. “I noticed they were in man. The defender got lost, I hit him on and Kareem did the rest.”
The PAT, however, was rushed and bounced awkwardly off the crossbar, leaving the Jaguars a touchdown and conversion away from victory.
The Ford defense stiffened, though, putting the Jaguars in fourth-and-goal at the 5.
After a timeout, the Jaguars threw their first pass of the game. Nick Juliano’s ball for tight end Jon Ricci fell incomplete, touching off a noisy celebration by Fords fans who stormed the field but were smart enough not to fool with the goal posts.
“That’s a huge win,” Ruane said. “We’ve got Garnet circled on our calendar every year so that’s a big win for us. They’re just a great team.”
Gallagher gathered his team and reminded them they were very much relevant in the Central League race.
“The one thing we always preach, and our kids do it, is that we play one play at a time,” Gallagher said. “Whether it’s a great play or a bad play, for us or against we just play the next play. And that’s what they did. They went on to the next play.”