The numbers the Haverford School and West Catholic put up Friday night at Widener’s Quick Stadium were so similar it was eerie.
The Fords amassed 13 first downs and 302 yards of total offense. Ditto for the Burrs.
Haverford School quarterback Ben Gerber connected on 12 of 19 passes for 197 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions. He also ran for a score. West’s Da’Vion Kidd-Jackson was 7-for-19 for 177 yards, one touchdown and no picks. He rushed for two TDs.
Both teams scored three touchdowns.
With the numbers so close it was not a surprise that the game came down to special teams, specifically kicking, and defense.
Chris Clark made all three of his extra point attempts while West Catholic came up empty in all three of its point-after tries, and the Fords’ came up with a huge stop at the end to hold on for a 21-18 nonleague victory.
All three of West’s point-after attempts were for two points.
Gerber did most of his damage in the second half to help the Fords open a 21-6 lead in the fourth quarter. He was 8-for-11 for 163 yards and two TDs, one throwing and one running. Gerber got the Fords on the board on a 1-yard TD run in the third quarter. That score was set up by the first of two muffed punts by the Burrs, both of which were critical. Matthew McKenna pounced on the first muff to give Haverford School a first down at the West Catholic nine-yard line and the Fords did not squander the opportunity.
Gerber, who finished with 209 yards of total offense, then teamed up with Dan Whaley for a 77-yard TD pass in the fourth quarter.
Yet it was the special teams, and defense, that enabled the Fords to hold on. Nate Whitaker returned a punt 65 yards for a touchdown and Clark added the extra point to give the Fords a 21-6 lead with 7:51 to play.
It didn’t take loss for the Burrs to get back into the contest. Kidd-Jackson and Seth Degree hooked up on a 65-yard touchdown pass 26 seconds later to cut the deficit to 21-12. Kidd-Jackson made it even more interesting when he scored on a 2-yard run with 3:52 remaining to pull the Burrs within 21-18.
A second muffed West Catholic punt, which was recovered by Whitaker, allowed the Fords to whittle a little more time off the clock, but not run it out completely. West Catholic got the ball back with 1:20 left, but the Haverford School defense rose to the occasion. Colin Hurlbrink sacked Kidd-Jackson on second down and teamed with Ed King for another sack on fourth down to seal the victory.