Malvern >> Malvern Prep’s 31-7 victory against Haverford School Friday evening at Quigley Field was highlighted by its defense, and particularly its defensive line.
The Friars limited the visitors to just three first downs and 23 total yards in the first half while building a 24-0 halftime lead.
“Our defensive line played great,” said Malvern Prep linebacker/wide receiver Keith Maguire. “They were in Haverford’s backfield a lot tonight – so [the Fords] didn’t make it back to us, the second line [of defense] much. We had lost our nose guard, Ryan Betz, with an injury, and I know the defensive line wanted to make [tonight] a good game for him.”
Malvern Prep head coach Dave Gueriera said, “Our defensive line coach, Rod Lusane, did a great job getting us ready for Haverford even though we had lost Ryan Betz. And our defensive coordinator, Joe DiTulio, did a great job bottling up Haverford’s attack.”
Malvern linebacker/receiver Quincy Watson said, “We were expecting Haverford to pass more than our other opponents, and we spent a lot of time this week studying film, going over our [defensive] coverages.”
Gueriera mentioned defensive lineman John Turley as well as offensive lineman Joe Basiura as having standout games up front Friday evening, adding, “This was a good all-around win for us – the defense, offense and special teams.”
The first time Malvern had the ball, running back O’Shaan Allison broke loose for a 51-yard run down to the Haverford 32 yard line. Four plays later, on 4th-and-2 at the Fords’ 24, Watson grabbed a short pass from Drew Gunther and found daylight to the end zone for a 7-0 Malvern lead.
“We had run the ball four straight times, which opened up that passing play,” said Watson. “Our left receiver, Quinn McCahon, ran a pattern to the right, and I ran a bubble to the left and got open. I had good blocking all the way to the end zone.”
Just before the first quarter ended, Garrett Reilly booted a 33-yard field goal to give the hosts a 10-0 lead.
Midway through the second quarter, Malvern drove 68 yards in seven plays for another touchdown. The highlights were a 20-yard pass from Gunther to Maguire on third-and-13, and a 19-yard burst up the middle by Allison into the end zone.
With time running out in the second quarter, Gunther hit Kevin Boyle for a 49-yard pass down the right sideline to the Haverford 6 yard line. Two plays later, Maguire made an amazing one-handed catch in the back right corner of the end zone, leaping high into the air despite tight coverage to snag the ball and give Malvern a 24-0 halftime lead.
“It was a fade pattern, a play that we’ve used before,” said Maguire. “I had one free hand to make the catch, my right hand, I jumped early and Drew put it right where I could get it. I focused on [catching] the ball first, and then I looked down to see how much room I had – I think I was about a yard [from the out-of-bounds line].”
In the first half, Gunther completed passes to eight different receivers, going 11-for-18 for 156 yards.
“Drew really clicked tonight, he spread the ball around,” said Gueriera. “Our offensive line did a great job of blocking, and O’Shaan and Quincy really ran hard tonight.”
Late in the third quarter, Allison broke free for a long run down to the Haverford 30, then two plays later Watson caught the ball on a bubble pattern down the right side, and ran it down to the 3 yard line.
“The coverage was tight, but Drew put it in there in the right spot, and I had good blocking,” said Watson, who scored on a three-yard run on the next play to wrap up the Malvern scoring for the night.
Haverford got on the scoreboard early in the fourth quarter when sophomore quarterback Patrick Toal hit junior wide receiver Dan Whaley for a 95-yard touchdown down the left sideline. Toal’s throw hit Whaley in stride, and the Ford receiver outran his coverage all the way into the end zone.
Haverford School head coach Michael Murphy said, “I think we took a step backwards tonight, this was a disappointing loss. The week before [a 21-7 loss to Penn Charter], we did some OK things that I thought we could build on today, like our defense. But we keep making the same mistakes. We’ll have to learn from tonight, and keep moving forward.”
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