Raiders trump Aces behind a pair of Jacks


RADNOR >> In front of packed stands and energized student sections, Radnor and Lower Merion met on the football field for the 119th consecutive year.

This edition was all about Jack — Horvath and Wilson. Behind the sophomore running back (Horvath) and the senior wide receiver (Wilson), Radnor cruised to its fourth straight victory in this rivalry, blanking the Aces, 34-0, Saturday in its final game of the season.

Horvath ran for 130 yards and two touchdowns and scored another on a screen pass. Wilson hauled in four receptions for 68 yards and a touchdown. He also had 46 yards on the ground. Behind those two, a stout line and a swarming defense, the Raiders (7-4) came out victorious for the 16th time in their last 19 meetings with the Aces (2-9).

Lower Merion still leads the all-time series 56-52-11.

“It’s everything to us right now,” Wilson said. “We missed out on playoffs, that was (our) goal. It’s sad. But we just came out and worked hard, got the ‘W.’ Seven-and-four, I don’t know if that’s been done for a while. We just worked hard since August 10.”

It’s Radnor’s best record in 13 years. It finished 30 points back of Springfield for the final District One Class AAA playoff spot — which would’ve been the program’s first. Instead, the Raiders settled for their traditional rivalry game to close the season.

A sophomore stole the show.

“I just wanted to have a good game for the seniors,” Horvath said. “Just the seniors, man. This game’s for the seniors… not me.”

Horvath opened the scoring by taking a simple screen pass 31 yards to the house. He followed that up with a 2-yard charge to make it 14-0 at halftime. Radnor turned the ball over on downs on its first two possessions, then Horvath fumbled the ball away on the next one.

The slow start was typical. So was the rebound that followed.

“We started a little slow today,” Radnor coach Tom Ryan said. “Our offensive line, as they’ve done all year, has led us. The rest of the guys took care of it.”

Amid those early struggles, the defense held. The unit forced a fumble on the one-yard line to keep Lower Merion off the board. The Aces finished with just seven first downs and 110 yards of total offense.

Once the offense got going, it didn’t stop.

“I think it was just staying calm, doing what we do best,” Horvath said. “Wilson just doing what he does best and scoring. Just playing our game.”

That was on display in the third quarter, when Wilson, after drawing a 15-yard personal foul penalty, fought through two Aces to haul in a 30-yard touchdown pass from Pat McDermott. That made it 21-0, and essentially, ended any hope Lower Merion had.

Horvath (11 yard run) and Naair Williams (two yard run) capped off the scoring in the fourth quarter.

“The fact that we, not only got a winning record, we got that seventh win, was huge for the program and especially for my seniors who worked so hard for four years,” Ryan said.

Now, Radnor looks to 2016. It will have the backfield tandem of Horvath and Williams back, plus McDermott. But Saturday was time for the program to celebrate its seniors.

After the game, the students rushed the field. Radnor was presented with a trophy, as part of a promotional campaign. Horvath won MVP honors. It was a day to remember.

“It’s crazy, I love everyone on this team,” Wilson said. “It was awesome. Couldn’t ask for anything more.”

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