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Under Horvath’s watch, Margolis steps up for Raiders

RADNOR >> It wasn’t a pretty sight for Taylor Margolis and his Radnor teammates last week, watching senior running back Jack Horvath plant, get hit and crumple in agony.

Friday, Horvath watched from a wheelchair on the sidelines as Margolis and Matt Cohen, two underclassmen, shouldered the backfield load. The galvanizing effect of Horvath’s injury was evident.

Margolis accounted for four touchdowns, three on the ground, by halftime as Radnor ran roughshod over West Chester East, 40-7, in a nonleague encounter.

“It’s tough to lose one of our key players, probably one of our best players,” Margolis said. “But it just motivates us, and we have to keep pushing through the season without him.”

Margolis found paydirt on runs of one, six and two yards, then pulled down a 19-yard screen pass from Sean Mullarkey for a score. He finished with 80 yards on 15 carries. Cohen spelled him in the second half, dashing for a touchdown and 75 yards on 11 totes.

Without Horvath – thanks to a broken leg in last week’s 52-22 thrashing of Upper Merion, the second straight year in which he’s dealt with a leg fracture – Radnor’s offense didn’t miss a beat. That owes to everyone pitching in to ensure the execution is crisper without such a significant piece.

“All around, we had to keep our focus this week,” senior Kyle Addis said. “We had to kind of forget about the injury, and it paid off.”

The defense contributed plenty, stifling the Vikings (0-2) from the outset. It didn’t help East’s cause that it was without top running back, Jared Cooper, injured after two touchdowns in last week’s loss to Council Rock North.
Nine tackles for loss stymied East drives in the first half. Jack Connolly and hulking Ifeyan Gavin provided three apiece, preventing quarterback Ryan Cassidy from settling in.

“Just being able to bounce back, keeping the energy up on the defense,” Connolly said. “I think that’s a big part of it.”

“It was definitely a change because I’m not used to starting at running back, I’m used to playing slot,” said East’s Kyle Cichanowsky, who ran for 107 yards on 22 carries, including a 49-yard touchdown. “But I was prepared. I’m always getting reps after him, so I’m always prepared.”

Jack Treangen and Kieran Sheridan pocketed first-half interceptions, and Austin Stanley sealed the game with a pick in the final minute. Addis deflected a pair of passes, putting Cassidy (7-for-13, 70 yards) under constant duress. Treangen returned his pick 15 yards to set up the Margolis receiving score with 2:41 left in the first half, sending Radnor into the break up 26-0.

Jahmair Rider returned the second-half kickoff 85 yards, one of only two touches for the all-purpose playmaker. But Radnor was comfortable sustaining drives, too, like a 15-play, 86-yard march in the first half. Mullarkey controlled tempo, finding five receivers for 113 yards and scrambling for 28 yards, providing extra veteran savvy to make up for the loss of Horvath.

“It was tough for all of us, but a few days after, we moved on and we used that injury to motivate us,” Addis said. “Now we’re 2-0, and it’s worked.”

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