PHILADELPHIA >> Mike Murphy has directed some impressive Haverford School teams in recent years. There were lots of victories and moments to be proud of, but little of the adversity that is marking this season.
Following Saturday’s 24-21 loss to Springside Chestnut Hill, the Fords dropped to 1-8 overall and have not recorded an Inter-Ac win in a calendar year (their last league win came against the Blue Devils). This loss particularly showed a lot of what has hindered the Fords all season.
The Blue Devils began seven different drives on the Fords’ side of the field, with two of those resulting in touchdowns. The play of the Fords defense was probably the most encouraging part of the game, allowing only 14 rushing yards while recording four sacks.
There was also a blocked field goal, which Murphy noted as a huge reason his team remained in the game.
“Without a couple of mistakes in a few games, our defense has been phenomenal all year,” Murphy said. “We’ve had them on the field far too often and you can’t expect to win football games that way.”
The defense held firm but was put into several difficult situations. After the Fords had a punt blocked in the first quarter, the Blue Devils recovered the ball at the Haverford School eight-yard line. A play later, Nick Logue took in one of his two rushing touchdowns to push the lead to 14-7 with 59 seconds left to play in the quarter.
Quarterback Ben Gerber, who started the game for the Fords, found Nate Whitaker for a 36-yard score to cut the lead to 17-14. It was a much different story for the junior in the second half, however, as he threw two interceptions and fumbled once on three consecutive drives. Despite all of the issues the Fords displayed, he seemed to shoulder the blame for the loss.
“I think we definitely slowed down in the second half and part of that was my mistakes,” Gerber said. “I can definitely take a lot of blame for that.”
Murphy felt the offense needed a spark and inserted Patrick Toal, who found Whitaker on his first pass down the sideline which resulted in a 90-yard touchdown and put the Fords in front 20-17 with 9:25 left in the game. As was the case for much of the day, though, Springside Chestnut Hill (6-4, 2-2) answered as quarterback Aaron Angelos found Myles Hugee, who finished with 106 receiving yards, for a 17-yard score to reclaim the lead.
The Blue Devils limited the Fords to 93 total yards over the final two quarters.
“In the second half, other than the one big play they hit on, I felt they didn’t do much,” SCHA head coach Rick Knox said. “We had a great pass rush and got some turnovers. To go against the best team in our league since 2010 and get a win is big.”
Murphy felt the biggest play in the game was the blocked punt, which seemed to summarize how the season has progressed for his team.
“You have to play football and do what’s right,” Murphy said. “We committed those mistakes … It’s been the story of the season and we haven’t been able to correct them.”
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