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Five to Watch: Garnet Valley can clinch share of Central League title

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We have reached the penultimate weekend of the regular season and plenty remains undecided.

In the Central League, undefeated Garnet Valley (8-0) can earn at least a share of the Central League title with a win over Conestoga (2-6). One-loss Haverford and Upper Darby will look to keep their championship hopes alive, but it won’t be easy. The Fords travel to Springfield and UD hits the road to play a resurgent Ridley team.

In the Del Val League, next week is shaping up to be a winner-take-all battle between Academy Park and Penn Wood. First, however, they have to dispose of two 0-3 Del Val teams, Glen Mills and Chichester, respectively.

Here are five games to watch in Delco this weekend:

Friday
Haverford (6-1) at Springfield (6-2), 7

For the fourth straight week the Fords scored at least 40 points with a 40-21 win over Strath Haven. Senior quarterback Jake Ruane became the program’s career passing leader and, with 5,437 yards, ranks third in Delco history. 

READ: Football Friday: Episcopal’s Bush boys have tall challenge in Uncle Dave’s Friars

The Cougars overcame a sluggish start last Saturday at Lower Merion to claim a 36-14 decision, snapping a two-game skid. Despite missing on 14 passing attempts, Jack Psenicska threw for three touchdowns. Pat Clemens added a pick-six and Frankie Bullock returned a kick to paydirt.

Ridley (4-4) at Upper Darby (6-1), 7

The Green Raiders reached the .500 mark, a seemingly improbable feat a month ago, with a 42-20 rout of Penncrest. During their four-game winning streak, the Green Raiders are averaging 42.5 points and 406 yards per contest. Running back Elijah Yakpasuo (103 yards, two TDs) and quarterback Jack Bakey (118 yards, three TDs) each eclipsed the 100-yard plateau in the victory over Penncrest. Despite reviving its season, Ridley is 22nd in the District 1 Class 6A playoff standings. The top 16 teams make the tournament.

UD’s defense has allowed the fewest yards (176.0) and second-fewest points (11.0) of all county teams. The defense leads the county with eight touchdowns and 26 takeaways. Last week they picked up their second consecutive shutout, 42-0 over Marple Newtown. Kareem McAdams rushed for 96 yards and two TDs.

Bonner & Prendergast (3-5) at Cardinal O’Hara (5-2), 7

The Friars ran a trick play on a two-point conversion attempt to beat Archbishop Carroll, 21-20, for their first Catholic League Blue Division victory.

Quarterback Kyle Lazer threw the ball to Ian Edwards, who then lobbed it up to tight end James Welde in the end zone. The victory snapped a four-game losing streak for B&P. Lazer completed 11 of 18 attempts for 140 yards and two TDs.

O’Hara’s defense shined in a 28-6 thumping of Neumann-Goretti last Saturday. Cole Sprague had two of the Lions’ three interceptions to give him five on the year. His brother, Luke, completed 10 of 16 passing attempts for 90 yards and a touchdown, while Quasir Cottman ran for 88 yards and a score. Leading rusher Keed Kpoto exited the game due to an upper-body injury. He is the fifth-leading rusher in the county with 752 yards.

Penn Wood (6-1) at Chichester (3-4), 7

Two of the top-flight passers in Delco face off in Penn Wood junior Desman Johnson Jr. and Chi junior Nate Decenzi. Johnson leads Delco in passing efficiency (190.2), yards (1,834) and touchdowns (20). He threw for 239 yards and four TDs in last week’s 48-16 thumping of Glen Mills.

Decenzi and the Eagles need to get back on track following their third straight loss last week, a 29-27 setback against Interboro. Decenzi is second in Delco with 1,509 yards including a 269-yard, two-touchdown effort against the Bucs.

Saturday
Haverford School (3-2) at Penn Charter (5-2), 1

The Fords are coming off their first Inter-Ac League victory since 2016. Ben Gerber threw for 158 yards and two scores to key a 38-11 shellacking of Germantown Academy. Daiyann Hawkins had a big day on both sides of the ball as he rushed for 96 yards and returned an interception for a touchdown.

The Fords will have their hands full with star running back Edward Saydee, who has amassed 822 yards and 11 TDs on the ground. 

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