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Sanders outduels old mates as Ryan tops Chester

Chester's Malik Langley, seen in the season-opener against Haverford, scored twice Saturday, but Chester fell to Archbishop Ryan, 45-30. (Bill Rudick/For Digital First Media)
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PHILADELPHIA >> The postgame talk revolved around team discipline and individual drive. Those were the mental bullet points on which Chester coach Ladontay Bell kept focusing.

Discipline, or a lack thereof, elicited 12 penalties against Chester. Drive, similarly absent, kept the Clippers from nudging any closer in the latter minutes of Saturday’s 45-30 loss to Archbishop Ryan.

Chester (1-3) spotted Archbishop Ryan (4-0) a three-touchdown lead in the first half before it finally revved up its offense. By then, the Clippers had committed to playing a game of catch-up that they had no chance at winning.

“I tell my guys to run their bills up,” Bell said. “You know, like an electric bill? Don’t turn your lights off in the middle of the game. Stay on fire. Stay on. We didn’t do that today. It’s concentration, mental toughness, and discipline to stay focused when you’re tired. We didn’t do any of that, either.”

Archbishop Ryan quarterback Jahlil Sanders orchestrated five drives in the first half that ended in the end zone, including three rushing touchdowns by Julian Jones.

Sanders, a senior, earned personal satisfaction in leading the Raiders past Chester. In his younger days, Sanders grew up in the Toby Farms section of town and in the Chester Upland School District. He lived in the same neighborhood as Chester High juniors Malik and Malachi Langley.

“I used to live down there with my mom, so I’ve known Malik and Malachi for a while,” said Sanders, who went 10-for-21 for 178 yards and two touchdowns. “We were talking a lot throughout the game. They were asking me when I’m coming back around (to visit).

“Every Thanksgiving, I go down there and ball at the Chester A fields. It’s good to play Chester.”

Sanders’ boyhood buddies, the Langley twins, combined for three second-quarter scores to keep the game competitive. Malik rushed for six- and 19-yard touchdowns, bookending an impressive 43-yard scoring connection between Malachi and Chester quarterback Tahree Fuller-Bryan.

The big play from Chester came on the heels of an Archbishop Ryan touchdown, a 25-yard pass from Sanders to Justin Collier. It was “us punching them back,” Malik said, of his brother’s touchdown along the right sideline.

“We just have to come out and hit teams in the mouth early, and right now, we’re not and that’s why we’re losing,” said Malik Langley, who had four rushes for 22 yards.

“I was banking on making a play to bring my team back,” said Malachi Langley. “When Coach called my number, our quarterback threw me a great ball. It got it done.”

Chester had possession just prior to halftime, and received the ball after intermission. The Clippers squandered both chances to cut into Archbishop Ryan’s 35-22 lead at the break. From there, the Raiders did what they could to nurse the clock and limit Chester’s opportunities to draw closer.

The Clippers have one more nonleague tune-up—next weekend at The Haverford School—before launching into Del Val League play against defending champion Penn Wood.

Will that afford them enough time to get on track?

“I think so,” Bell said. “It’s about discipline, and we’re doing what we can with the kids.”

Added Malachi Langley: “I expect a win next week and every week. It’s time.”

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