HAVERFORD — There were emotions spilling over, calls under pressure, harsh debates in their ranks … and that was just what happened when the referees huddled.

As it was, Haverford School’s 32-16 football decision over Springside Chestnut Hill Saturday was chaotic enough. All the whistles and non-calls alleged by both sidelines merely served as a curious distraction.

“We were trying to make it our most physical game yet,’ Fords running back/corner Reggie Harris said. “Every week we try to play as hard as we can. It’s tough to keep a good mindset when calls don’t go your way or you miss a field goal or you don’t get it on fourth down. But you have to stay up.’

Regardless of a number of striped decisions which went against the Fords (6-1, 2-0 Inter-Ac), they wouldn’t be denied a sixth straight victory. Not that it was easy.

“They’re always well prepared, always well coached and they played tough,’ Haverford School coach Mike Murphy said of the Blue Devils, who suffered their first loss of the season (6-1, 1-1). “Last year we beat Malvern, go over there and lose to (SCH). It was their only league win of the season. So our focus this week was saying, ‘˜There’s no letdown in this league. Every week is a championship week.”

There really wouldn’t be much of a reminder of that needed, since last season’s late loss to Springside Chestnut Hill cost the Fords a league title after perhaps thinking they had won it with a win over Malvern.

“We lost to them last year and so we tried to make sure we won it this year,’ Harris said. “This was a big game for us. We just have to stay on top of things now and don’t let ourselves slip.’

Harris was one player who wouldn’t let the Fords fall in this 3-plus hour classic of whistles and wild moments. And most of it came in a riveting 30-minute marathon after the intermission, and a first half highlighted by punts.

One of them was rather noteworthy, as Haverford School’s Dox Aitken unloaded from around his goal line … and the ball was finally flagged down in the distance by a Blue Devil backtracker at around the 11. Officially it would go down as an 82-yard punt, and a real opportunity when the ball was fumbled away at the Devils’ 13.

But like a lot of early moments, Haverford School couldn’t take advantage, Aitken having a fourth-down pass brush his fingertips. The Fords would make it into the locker room with a 5-0 lead, as senior sensation Jack Soslow connected from 38 yards out, and on the ensuing defensive series, they blocked an SCH punt through the end zone for a safety.

But the Fords would be disappointed since on the final series of the half, having a first down at the 2 in the final minute, and not be able to punch it in from there after four running stabs.

“That goal-line stand was big for us,’ said Springside Chestnut Hill quarterback Paul Dooley (12 completions, 243 yards). “That really ignited us in the second half. We came out guns heavy.’

First it was a 22-yard scoring pass from Dooley to senior wideout Dylan Parsons, one of his eight catches on the day that added up to 137 yards. A two-point conversion pass to Matt Rahill gave SCH an 8-5 lead.

Haverford School struck right back, junior Kevin Carter with a scoring strike to junior wideout Micah Sims from 37 yards for 12-8. The Fords seemed to break things open when Phil Poquie (14 carries, 131 yards) took a handoff, cut left and streaked down the sideline for an 89-yard touchdown run. But less than a minute later, Dooley hit junior Jordan Johnson all alone for a 54-yard touchdown, and another two-pointer brought the Devils to within 19-16.

But when times are tough, this Fords team quite literally kicks back with Soslow, who made it a six-point lead by hitting from 27 yards out at the start of the fourth quarter. Then he was back looking for more, drilling a kick from 47 yards out that just drifted left high up on the upright and bounded away.

“He makes them routinely in practice,’ Murphy said of long-ball attempts by Soslow, who drilled a 49-yarder last week against Malvern and had a 52-yarder earlier in the season. “It’s such a weapon in high school, and we didn’t have him until one day before the season. He’s a soccer player. He shows up the day before, says, ‘˜I’m a senior and I don’t know how much I can help you, but I want to play.’ And that was about the understatement of the year.’

The game seemed to be Soslow’s to put away as he lined up for a chip shot later in the quarter. The ball jetted through but a ref’s whistle had blown for delay of game. Soslow went at it again, and as he started another whistle came … only to hear the refs say they weren’t set.

On a third try, Soslow hit the ball, but a hard charging Blue Devils line blocked the kick, keeping them within striking distance.

“All the officials weren’t set (before the block), and that could be huge at that point in time,’ Murphy said. “My thing is, you’ve got to let the kids decide the game.’ That said, Murphy sympathized with officials working a very physical game between two teams using a lot of no-huddle plays.

“We’re not easy to work with, either,’ he said.

Soslow would eventually put his team up two scores with a 19-yard field goal, and shortly thereafter, Harris (16 carries, 166 yards) finally put away SCH by streaking 85 yards for a late TD.