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Haverford School out of sync again as Penn Charter stretches skid

HAVERFORD >> His face smeared with eye black, Anthony Reginelli gave his best synopsis of The Haverford School’s 21-7 loss to Penn Charter Saturday at Sabol Field.

The latest smudge on the Fords’ 2017 campaign transpired on a day where the senior class was honored for its four years of dedication to the program. And they would go winless at home in their final season.

“There were a lot of times where we had the line go as hard as we can and the receivers take that play off. Then, on the next play, the receivers would go as hard as they can, but the line takes the play off,” said Reginelli, a senior lineman. “We’re just not gelling as a team overall, and I feel as though that’s our biggest issue. If we can get on the same page as each other, then I know we can be a completely different team.”

For now, the Fords (1-6, 0-2 Inter-Ac League) are a team stuck in reverse. Mired in a five-game losing streak, they will play out the remainder of the schedule on the road.

“Execution-wise, there are missed blocks or missed reads or whatever the case may be,” said Reginelli, a Springfield resident who played youth ball in Clifton Heights. “We all get in our positions, but we can’t finish the play.”

To Reginelli’s credit, he helped keep the Fords defensive line together. “Reg,” as he’s known by his teammates, had his fingerprints on several key stops at the line of scrimmage. He also sacked Penn Charter quarterback Will Samuel on two occasions.

On this day, several mindless penalties and the Quakers’ big-play ability buried the Fords. One instance came midway through the fourth quarter, when Haverford’s offense finally completed a drive as Logan Keller scampered into the end zone from three yards out, the Fords trimming their deficit to six points with less than seven minutes to play. It was an impressive 12-play drive that included a crucial third-down catch by sophomore Jake Spencer. Keller (79 yards, 21 carries) gave the Fords a much-needed spark with his hard-nosed running.

Whatever momentum the Fords had stolen from the Quakers, though, vanished within seconds. Thirteen, to be precise.

On Penn Charter’s next offensive play, Samuel connected with Terrence Thompson, who raced 80 yards for a touchdown. Thompson was, inexplicably, tackled in the end zone for a 15-yard personal foul against the Fords.

The Fords went back to work on offense … and good things happened. Ben Gerber (6-for-13, 68 yards) threw a 31-yard pass to Isaiah Winikur. Down by two scores, they were marching inside the Penn Charter 40-yard line.

And then everything fell apart.

Three offensive holding calls found the Fords facing a fourth-and-59.

“It comes with a lack of experience,” Reginelli said. “We have a lot of young guys playing. I’m not pinning it on them. It’s the whole team. But I felt like after we scored, a couple guys on our team got a little comfortable. We were only down by six points. We got comfortable with the position we were in … and that led to the (80-yard) touchdown. It’s effort, really. You’ve got to keep your head in the game for all four quarters.”

Edward Saydee, who rushed for 94 yards on 25 carries, intercepted Gerber and returned it 60 yards for a touchdown on the game’s opening series. The quick pick-six gave the Quakers (6-1, 1-1) the early momentum, and they never looked back.

“It’s like a playoff game every game that we play,” Saydee said. “We came out here and wanted to set the tone from the beginning. We’re not worried about the game last week (23-9 loss to Malvern Prep). After I caught my pick, we slowed down a little bit, but we picked it up again. It was a good win.”

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