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Haverford’s defense has its Wey with Penncrest

Haverford wide receiver Trey Blair gets into the end zone for a touchdown past Penncrest cornerback Aidan Conmy (4) during the first quarter at Haverford High School. (Special to the Times/ERIC HARTLINE)

HAVERFORD >> CJ Wey walked back to the sideline, ducking under a wave of pats to his helmet and fists pounding on his shoulder pads.

The Haverford senior and his defensive teammates had stalled yet another Penncrest drive after only three plays. Wey just smiled.

“Tonight,” Wey said, “was a really good night.”

Haverford quarterback Jake Ruane guns a pass during the first quarter against Penncrest Friday night at Haverford. The Fords won 70-7. (Special to the Times/Eric Hartline)

Haverford routed Penncrest, 70-7, with four players scoring multiple touchdowns. It was Fords coach Joe Gallagher’s defense, however, that deserved the most praise. The Fords registered four tackles for loss, including two quarterback sacks, and at least a dozen quarterback pressures across the first and second quarters, as Haverford assembled a 56-7 lead at halftime.

Haverford (6-1, 4-1) limited Penncrest to 98 yards of total offense. The Lions (1-6, 1-5) failed to crack the positive side of the ledger in rushing, too, carrying 27 times for -12 yards.

Gallagher credited what his team calls “takeoff drills.”

“Our takeoff on the snap of the ball was excellent,” the longtime coach said. “My D-line coaches are ex-Haverford players and they drill that every day. That’s the first thing we do every day in practice is individual drills, and D-line does takeoffs. We emphasize it, and they’ve become very good at it.”

Wey, rated in the preseason as one of the Fords’ strongest players, offered further explanation.

“Basically, it’s slapping the hands (of the opposing team’s offensive linemen) and exploding off the ball to change directions quickly,” he said. “That’s what we work on in that drill and it worked for us tonight.”

Chasen Wint had 51 yards rushing and three touchdowns, scoring on each of his first three touches and contributing heavily to Haverford’s 28-7 lead after one quarter. Luke DeCarlo had two second-half rushing touchdowns, and Trey Blair also had a pair, via a 10-yard pass from quarterback Jake Ruane and on a 52-yard rush.

Haverford’s roster lists Blair at six different positions, free safety, running back, quarterback, punter, punt returner, and kick returner. The junior, who played all of those against Penncrest except quarterback, estimates he probably could line up at about 10 positions.

“That’s my favorite part of playing this game,” said Blair, the Fords’ leading rusher with 78 yards on two carries. He also had 27 yards receiving on three catches.

Another fun part for Blair and the Fords? Friday’s game capped the team’s fundraising efforts for the Kevin Cain Memorial Foundation. All told, they generated more than $9,000 for the non-profit that benefits families coping with the loss of a loved one from cancer. After the game, the public address announcer read aloud the jersey numbers of each Haverford player and the names of the people – family members, friends, anyone – for whom the game was played.

Haverford running back Chasen Went (44) races past Penncrest linebacker Anthony Chero (25) on a 32-yard touchdown run during the first quarter at Haverford High School. (Special to the Times/ERIC HARTLINE)

“It was a good night for us, and for a good cause,” Blair said. “It’s a big night for the township. We were able to put on a show for everyone here tonight, and it just means a lot.”

Like Wint, Ruane also logged three scores, with two on the ground and one in the air. The senior quarterback entered the game needing 186 yards to top Jack Donaghy, the 2015 Daily Times Player of the Year, as Haverford’s all-time leading passer. Ruane will have to wait until next week’s date with Strath Haven. He exited the game with 117 yards on 8-for-10 passing in a lopsided first half and sat out the remainder of the game.

Not like that diminished Haverford’s mood.

“Everybody, top to bottom, is getting better,” Blair said. “We want to keep this going.”

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