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Malvern Prep gets wake-up call in loss to McDonogh School

MALVERN >> In high school sports they say graduation is the great equalizer. Last season the Malvern Prep Friars ran through an undefeated season and Inter-Academic League title, but Malvern Prep also graduated 10 players to Division I college programs. 

Friday night at Quigley Field the 2019 Friars were dominated up front by a very big and physical McDonogh School offensive line as the visiting Eagles rushed the ball 41 times for 283 yards and the Eagles downed Malvern, 34-13.

Giovanni Procacini rushed for 115 yards and two touchdowns and it seemed every time the Eagles (1-0) needed a big first down, the McDonogh senior got it for them. Sophomore quarterback Preston Howard rushed for 64 yards and was very elusive in the pocket. The 6-foot-5 sophomore showed he has plenty of ability by eluding tacklers and buying time in the pocket.

“We had a great week of practice this past week,” Procacini said. “We were confident coming into the game and we thought we could run the ball on them, but we did not expect to do as well as we did tonight. The offensive line was amazing for us tonight.” 

Malvern Prep (0-1) actually scored first on a long 42-yard pass from junior Lonnie White to Isaac White down the right side, and the Friars looked to be in good shape early in the first quarter with a 6-0 lead. But, the minute the Eagles got the football, it was clear who was winning the battle up front, and McDonogh jetted out to a 20-6 halftime edge on the Friars. Procacini scored on runs of eight and 14 yards and Isiah Trader also threw in an eight-yard touchdown run for the halftime advantage.

“Coming into the game I thought it would be a passing game for us,” Howard said. “But, it turned into us running the football and controlling the line of scrimmage. I mean, oh man, the offensive line was awesome for us tonight. They were ready and they just dominated up front. I made some plays out of the pocket but for the most part it was those guys getting after it.”

Malvern Prep suffered a blow early in the the third quarter when Lonnie White went out for a pass from substitute quarterback Bryce Pippin. The pass was broken up on the right sideline, but White left the game after what appeared to be a big hit.

White did not return, and coach Dave Gueriera said he was shaken up and kept out of the game as a precaution.

Pippin tried to bring the Friars back but the Eagles’ defense held the Friars to just 93 yards rushing, and Pippin went eight for 17 in the passing department, and McDonogh kept pouring it on. Luther Egbe darted through the Malvern Prep line for a nine-yard touchdown run in the fourth that was set up by another Malvern punt. 

Malvern did come back to score when Pippin threw a nice 21-yard touchdown pass to Tytler Tinson midway through the fourth quarter to make it a 27-13 game.

McDonogh finished off the scoring and the Friars by going on a 9-yard scoring drive that was set up by a Malvern Prep fumble, and three plays later Egbe took it the final yard and the Eagles had a very impressive victory over the Friars.

“I did not think they would be able to run the football on us like they did,” Gueriera said. “But we saw some things that are fixable and we will get back to work and get ready for La Salle.”

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