Haverford School gets down and dirty to blow out Penn Charter

PHILADELPHIA — The steady rain was coming down with no sign of letting up. The wind was shivering. The 40-degree temperature was of no assistance. The grass field, before a snap was taken, was a puddle.

Did it matter to Haverford School? Nope.

“You can do two things in these kinds of games,’ senior Connor Atkins said. “You can say it sucks and complain on the sideline, or you can embrace it.’

The Fords did the latter, and then some, in their thorough 54-2 domination of Penn Charter Saturday afternoon at the Quakers’ East Falls campus. The victory clinched Haverford a share of the Inter-Ac title and sets it up to secure the crown outright in next week’s season finale.

Haverford (8-1, 4-0) scored on its first five possessions of the game. It had a 21-0 lead after the first quarter and a 41-0 lead at halftime. The second half, mostly featuring the second unit, was played entirely under a running clock.

“I’m really proud of the way our football team came out, our mindset, our focus was right from the beginning,’ Haverford School coach Michael Murphy said. “We didn’t let (the conditions) affect us at all. We just came over here very business-like, we did some really good things and got what we were looking for.’

Senior Chauncey Simmons had another, more colorful, way of looking at it.

“We came out hype. We know why we were hype? Because we were ready to be little piggies,’ he said. “I’m not sure about them, I’m not sure if they were ready to be little piggies. Because we were ready to go slip and slide.’

The wet field played havoc with Penn Charter (5-5, 0-4), but Haverford looked like it was playing under pristine conditions. On the second play from scrimmage, Dox Aitken took a simple wide receiver screen 65 yards for a touchdown. After a punt, quarterback Kevin Carter scampered in for a 17-yard score on a read option.

It was just starting. After another punt, Carter found Derek Mountain on play action for a 15-yard touchdown. The Fords’ next possession ended with Reginald Harris racing 60 yards for another score.

On and on it went.

“It’s pretty incredible,’ Murphy said. “We’ve got talented kids, they made plays. It’s nice when it kinda works like that.’

Haverford even scored a touchdown on a botched field goal snap. It added another one on Noah Lejman’s 35-yard interception return. The visitors ran 20 plays during the first half — five finished in the end zone.

The Fords wound up with 446 yards of total offense, including 141 from Carter’s right arm.

“We embraced it. You see what happens when we embrace it?’ Simmons asked. “We score and we score and we score again, and we don’t worry about the rain until we get on the sidelines.’

The defense also played well, keeping the scoreboard blank until an errant snap on a punt went out of the end zone midway through the fourth quarter. The Fords yielded just 144 total yards to the Quakers.

“That’s been the backbone of our team,’ Murphy said. “They set the tone, we play physical, we play hard-nosed football on the defensive side, and I think our offense fueled off of that. So we’re really proud of that.’

Malik Twyman (eight yards) and Tom Toal (one yard) added second half touchdowns for Haverford, which will host Episcopal Academy next week with a chance to secure the outright league title.

“It would mean so much,’ Atkins said. “We got one more game, should be a good game, I know they’re going to be good and we’re going to come out and play hard.’

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