PHILADELPHIA — Haverford School had four true possessions during the first half Saturday afternoon. It turned the ball over on three of them. A recipe for success, this was not.
The Fords put themselves in that hole and were unable to climb out, falling 41-14 to an impressive Penn Charter team. The Quakers were led by quarterback Kyle Jones, who totaled 221 yards and five touchdowns — two rushing, three passing.
Yes, Haverford (3-3, 1-1 Inter-Ac) hurt itself repeatedly, between the turnovers and a number of debilitating penalties. But Penn Charter most certainly earned the win. Haverford School coach Michael Murphy didn’t shy away from that, but turnovers will bug any coach.
“We talk about it all the time, we stress on it, we work on it in practice,” Murphy said. “Turn the ball over, you lose football games. You play sloppy, you commit penalties, you lose football games. We did all of those things in spades today.”
Penn Charter (5-2, 1-1), already up 3-0 early, cashed in turnover No. 1 (a fumble) on Jones’ seven-yard scoring run late in the first quarter. Turnover No. 2 (an interception) yielded a punt, but No. 3 (another pick) resulted in Jones’ nine-yard strike to Aaron Maione. Haverford finally held onto the ball but punted, and Ryan Bradby’s second field goal did the damage. It was halftime, and Haverford was staring at a 20-0 deficit.
Jones and top back Edward Saydee (101 yards) were playing a two-man game in the read option, which the Quakers used to control the second half and protect their lead.
“Just trusted the offense, trusted the plays,” Jones said about his banner day. “Having a running back like Six (Saydee) really opens up the running lanes for me cause they cue on him.”
Penn Charter answered Haverford’s third quarter touchdown drive — capped by Daiyaan Hawkins’ one-yard charge — with some big plays. First, Jones hit Maione down the sidelines for a 55-yard score. Then he raced 57 yards down the field to set up his nine-yard run. The Fords trailed 34-7 after three quarters.
Haverford felt prepared for what Penn Charter threw at them. It just couldn’t stop it.
“They didn’t do anything we didn’t know that they do, and that’s a credit to them,” Murphy said. “They do what they do and they do it well. And we didn’t stop it today. And that’s on us.”
Jones finished with an eight-yard lob to Brendan Thomas. He wound up rushing for 86 yards and passing for 135. It was his first five-touchdown performance, he said, since eighth grade.
“Early in the season we relied heavily on the run, but I gained confidence throughout the season and I’m getting confident every game,” Jones explained.
Haverford totaled 236 yards of offense. Logan Keller’s 68 rushing yards topped the stat sheet. Mekhi Ajose-Williamson capped the scoring with a late five-yard run. There were not many positives from the Fords, but they will have little time to dwell on that.
Malvern Prep, which handily defeated these Quakers a week ago, comes to Sabol Field next week. Three games remain for the Fords. All are at home. They will have to be better.
“We’re going to have to, because I’ll tell you what, it doesn’t get any easier in this league with Malvern coming up next week,” Murphy said. “We better get it righted and better fix those problems that we have.”