Haverford High QB Jack Donaghy is Main Line Boys Athlete of the Week

Donaghy, a senior, fired five touchdown passes and scored two more as the Fords defeated Upper Darby, 49-42, on Thanksgiving Day to capture the Central League football title. Donaghy, a first team All-Central League quarterback, finished the season with 33 touchdown passes and 3,296 yards passing, setting a Haverford record and coming 21 yards shy of setting the Delaware County single-season record.

Q: It must have been quite an experience on Thanksgiving Day, playing for the Central League title in front of more than 5,000 fans, and winning a high-scoring contest. What is your most vivid memory of that game? Can you share it with us?

A: My most vivid memory of the Thanksgiving Day Game was when our safety Ethan Samel scooped up the fumble with about a minute left in the game. If Josh Lafferty hadn’t stripped the running back, and had Ethan not be in the right place at the right time, I don’t know if we would be Central League champions. I was standing next to Coach Gal (Joe Gallagher) when this happened and we were both filled with jubilation and let out a huge sigh of relief.

Q: Tell us about Chris Trainor’s clutch catch on fourth-and-10 late in the fourth quarter that set up the game-tying touchdown. Can you describe how the play developed, and your role in it?

A: His catch was vital in order to save our season and achieve our No. 1 goal in winning the Central League. Chris ran a wheel route down the right sideline, elevated above the defender, and made an incredible one handed catch. Without Chris and the other receivers making extraordinary plays throughout the season, we may not have reached our goals.

Q: On your 13th birthday, you received a video which contained a birthday greeting from Alec Baldwin, who played your namesake on 30 Rock. The video was the brainchild of your uncle Michael, who has known 30 Rock creator Tina Fey for 30 years. After the birthday greeting, Baldwin then took on his acting role, saying he heard you were about to sue him for not licensing his name for the character. He menacingly urged you not to pursue a lawsuit (he was joking, of course), then closed the video by repeating the birthday wish. What was that experience like?

A: For my 13th birthday, my grandmother as well as my family traveled to New York City to spend the weekend with my uncle. We walked around the city, ate dinner at Johnny Utah’s, and then came back to our hotel room for desert. After desert I opened my presents, and as I was about to say thank you to my grandmother and my uncle for the gifts, my uncle says, “Wait a second, I have one more gift.’ He put the CD into the computer and Alec Baldwin’s face showed up. I was astonished.

Q: Who is your favorite football player and why? Who is your favorite quarterback and why? Is there a player whose game you try to pattern your own after?

A: My favorite quarterback, along with favorite football player is Russell Wilson. Russell Wilson has always been told how undersized he is and that he would never be a successful quarterback in the NFL. Yet, he has defied the odds, and won a Super Bowl in the little time he has been in the NFL. Yet, I try to model my game after Tom Brady. Tom is always trying to spread the ball out to a variety of receivers and is a proven winner.

Q: You’re also the point guard for the Haverford High boys’ basketball team. What (to date) is your most vivid memory from your basketball career?

A: My most vivid memory was when we clinched a berth into the PIAA Class AAAA state tournament in our home gym [as a sophomore]. The gym was packed, standing room only, students were talking about it all day, and to go out with my brothers in a game like that is a memory I’ll never forget.

Q: What first sparked your interest in the quarterback position? Who have been your top quarterback mentors, and what has been the most important thing each of them taught you?

A: As a little kid I always wanted to be a quarterback because you were a part of every play and a leader of the offense. My top quarterback mentors have probably been Mr. [Justin] Mellor, who is now the head coach of Harriton, our quarterback coach Mr. [Jack] O’Donnell, who has taught me not only the necessary tools to be a successful quarterback, but also is constantly stressing being an even better person through being respectful, considerate, and having integrity. He has even helped me with chemistry during practice. Also, Kevin McGee has helped me mature as a quarterback during the off-season. Along with them, Mr. Caruso, dating all the way back to 8th grade, has taught me how to stay positive and is always looking for different way to throw the ball around in his spare time.

Q: You want to play football in college – what schools are among your current favorites? What do you think you’d like to major in?

A: I am looking at Ursinus, Franklin and Marshall, Dickinson, Lycoming, Trinity, University of Chicago, along with Shippensburg, and West Chester. I am looking to major in accounting or something within the business/economics field.

Jack Donaghy’s top picks

Book: Kite Runner.

Author: Suzanne Collins.

TV show: Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives.

Pre-game pump-up song: Mockingbird.

Athlete: Ray Allen.

Person I admire most: “My father, Pete Donaghy, is the person I admire the most. He is always pushing me to become a better young man, how to go out of my way to help others, and how to deal with adversity. I cannot thank my family enough for all of the support they have given and provided me with.”

Team: Philadelphia Eagles.

Place to visit: The Wildwoods.

(To be selected as Main Line Boys Athlete of the Week, a student-athlete must first be nominated by his coach.)

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