FORT WASHINGTON >> No one in the Germantown Academy locker room, coaches or seniors, had ever tasted victory over the Haverford School football team.
Not many teams in recent years have.
The turnaround came Saturday, as the Patriots snapped their losing streak against the Fords. The 21-14 win gives fifth-year coach Matt Dence and his squad a chance for at least a piece of the Inter-Ac title.
“It has been over a decade since we beat Haverford and that is a program win,” Dence said. “Mike Murphy is the best coach in the Inter-Ac in my book, and to be able to knock him off means our program is going in the right direction.”
The loss sets the Fords back in their search for a fourth consecutive league title. The Fords had won 21 consecutive games when they went down to Perkiomen Valley in the season’s third week. This loss drops them to 6-3, 2-2 in the bunched Inter-Ac standings.
A rocky first quarter allowed the Patriots to pull ahead and get over the Haverford School hump. Senior quarterback Kyle McCloskey scored all three touchdowns in the first half. The runs of one, four, and one yard capped off three drives that started inside the midfield stripe.
McCloskey rushed for 94 yards and threw for 114 yards in the win.
“We got off to a great start and I thought we could score 35 today,” Dence said. “But I think we won that game in the fourth quarter. We have strong kids and four years ago they might have pushed us around a little bit.”
After the Fords’ first punt of the afternoon came off the foot with some major backspin, the Patriots’ Patrick McGettigan picked up the football and they started their drive from the 12-yard line. After the opening botched punt, the Fords went for it on fourth down for the rest of the game. They were only 1-for-5 on fourth down.
“We came out soft and we deserve to lose,” senior running back Mallik Twyman said. “They played harder than us today. It is a team effort and I was a part of it, too. I did not do enough for my team today.”
The Fords finally got on the board before the half when Tommy Toal hit Twyman with a 14-yard pass. Scoring at the two-minute warning did not translate to a better second half.
“Hopefully we learn from this game today,” Twyman said. “We look forward to EA (Episcopal Academy) next week.”
The Fords tried to counter the Patriots’ blitzes with screen passes and draws, but the linebackers stayed patient and tackled well. Eventually Twyman, the Colgate commit, broke free for a 57-yard run in the fourth quarter. Twyman had 143 yards rushing and another 46 yards receiving. However, with only four minutes remaining the Patriots picked up enough first downs to run out the clock.
“Haverford School is a good team, they are well coached, they are all those things,” Dence said. “But today we played better than them. We knew we would face adversity in the second half and we handled it well.”
The Patriots finish their season next week against Penn Charter and a win would secure a piece of the Inter-Ac title with Malvern Prep, if the Friars can defeat Springside Chestnut Hill.
They will face adversity at one point in that game, but the Patriots thanks to wins like the win on Saturday, are confident they can handle it.
“I thought all six teams had a chance to win the Inter-Ac coming in,” Dence said. “It is nice to know we are down to the last game, only two of us can, and we are one of them.”