Kober, Haverford School lay the hammer down on Malvern

MALVERN >> The Haverford School linebacker Mickey Kober and his younger brother, Chris, live in Havertown and played youth football at Annunciation B.V.M.

The Kober boys are two of the Fords’ top standouts on defense.

“I’m a Delaware County kid,” Kober said. “My older brother, Timmy, went to Haverford High. He graduated last year. He was a football player, too. Number 78.”

Kober is tight with Haverford High’s starting quarterback, who broke the school’s career passing record the day before.

“Jack Donaghy is one of my best friends,” Kober said. “I shared a football article on Facebook, saying, ‘Yeah, he’s a good football player, but he’s a great friend’.”

Mickey Kober was shooting the breeze and all smiles as he spent time chatting with reporters and hugging several family members after Haverford put the finishing touches on a convincing, 31-14 decision over Malvern Prep Saturday afternoon.

While the Fords (7-0, 2-0) were considered slight underdogs, thinking they could emerge victorious from this spirited Inter-Ac rivalry was not unfathomable. But their destruction of the Friars (5-2, 1-1), considered one of the top programs in Southeastern Pennsylvania after their shocking win over two-time defending PIAA Class AAAA champion St. Joseph’s Prep earlier in the season, was absolutely stunning.

The Fords were dominant on the way to the program’s 16th consecutive win. Their last defeat was Aug. 30, 2014, the first game of Kober’s junior year.

And what transpired Saturday was the best performance by Haverford’s defense all year. Nevermind the total yardage (283 yards … which is pretty good). The Fords won the game by getting in the face of the Friars and stymying 6-2 sophomore quarterback Kevin Doyle (9-of-20, 145 yards, two interceptions), sophomore running back O’Shaan Allison (100 yards on 18 carries) and an offensive line that many considered to be the toughest in the Inter-Ac.

“Brian Martin, our head defensive coordinator, did a great job this week at preparing us for their zone. I will say that Malvern has best line that we’ve played all year. Those guys know how to get to the second level,” said  Mickey Kober, who picked off Doyle in the fourth quarter to seal the win … just in case there was any doubt.

“Our defensive line played amazing today. One of my buddies, (senior) Frank Cresta, he usually plays linebacker with

Haverford QB Tommy Toal was 22-of-29 for 312 yards and four touchdowns Saturday. Toal's passing yardagae was the most by a Delco signal caller this season.
Haverford QB Tommy Toal was 22-of-29 for 312 yards and four touchdowns Saturday. Toal’s passing yardage was the most by a Delco signal caller this season. (TOM KELLY IV – DAILY TIMES)

me and he put his hand in the dirt today. He was an All-Inter-Ac League player last year at defensive end.

“Keeping their linemen off of us today allowed us to flow free and make tackles, which was huge. Our line just gets after it and I love that. When they keep me free,  I can make tackles.”

Kober and fellow seniors Cresta and All-Delco lineman Brian Denoncour joined forced with sophomore linemen Anthony Reginelli and Colin Hurlbrink to give the Friars fits. It had been a struggle for the Fords on defense this season. They changed schemes midseason, and there’s been plenty of mixing and matching along the way.

Saturday, the unit found its identity.

“We’ve kind of spent this year trying to figure out who are we defensively and this is the first week that we got a sense of who we are, how we need to play, and the kids executed that,” coach Mike Murphy said. “That was big for us.”

The Fords also didn’t waste time imposing their will on offense. Leading the way was junior quarterback Tommy Toal and senior wide receivers Dox Aitken and Keyveat Postell, both of whom proved to be a terror to cover. Toal was 22-of-29 for a county season-high 317 yards and four touchdowns. On the first play of the game he found Aitken for 24 yards and capped an impressive opening drive with a 12-yard touchdown strike to Postell.

“We knew they measured up up front with us pretty well, but we had the advantage on the outside. We were counting the box, seeing where to throw it. If we had numbers, we’re going here or going there,” said Toal, a Springfield kid. “Either way we knew our athletes were going to make plays if we got them that ball. That’s what we tried to do all day.”

Haverford School All-Delco Dox Aitken hauls in one of his eight catches Saturday. (TOM KELLY IV - DAILY TIMES)
Haverford School All-Delco Dox Aitken hauls in one of his eight catches Saturday.

And there’s not many better athletes on the field than Aitken, who finished with 157 yards on eight receptions, punted, played defense and recorded an interception.

Put simple, Aitken was amazing.

“We had the best week of practice I’ve ever been a part of in my four years here,” said Aitken, who took a wide receiver screen 55 yards to paydirt to give the Fords a 14-0 cushion in the second quarter. “We knew they were a great team. They came out and beat (St. Joe’s Prep) and we knew we were a huge underdog for this game.  That just fueled the fire. We came out focused, got ahead and we stayed there.”

The Fords leaned on their athletic receivers to execute screens and quick slants for big gainers. Toal did a good job firing the ball out as quickly as possible.

“Their DBs are pretty good and they’re definitely well-coached,” said Postell, who had eight catches for 139 yards. “The most important thing is we did stretch the field and those one-on-one matchups, we thought we would be better. “

It was 17-0 at halftime and the Fords put the game out of reach when Toal hit Postell across the middle of the field 66 yards to make it 24-7.  Eli Godfrey was left wide open in the flat for a 12-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter for Toal’s fourth scoring strike of the day.

“It’s a huge win for the program, the fourth straight year against Malvern,” Mickey Kober said. “We go out there not to hang with people, we go out there to dominate people, offensively and defensively.”

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