HAVERFORD >> With Senior Night on tap at Haverford School, the Fords’ supporters packed the schools gym for that and one other very worthwhile cause.
Haverford School senior Jack Cloran, a wide receiver with the Fords’ football squad, and an ardent Haverford School basketball fan this winter, recently was diagnosed with osteosarcoma.
Students and fans turned out in force Friday evening for their team’s game against Germantown Academy, wearing gold T-shirts bearing the words, “H Fords vs. Cancer” in maroon lettering on the front, and “Cloran 2 Strong” on the back. Cloran wore No. 2 for the Haverford School football team.
The school sold approximately 800 of these T-shirts at $15 apiece, with all of the proceeds going to Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. In addition, the school was accepting monetary donations at the door.
Friday’s crowd of supporters included numerous former alumni, faculty and staff, including former Haverford School athletic director and lacrosse coach John Nostrant. Also in attendance were former Penn and Temple coach Fran Dunphy and Cloran’s maternal grandfather, former Saint Joseph’s University athletic director Don DiJulia.
“Our community support has been terrific,” said Haverford School athletic director Mike Murphy. “A lot of the seniors are tight with Jack, and Dante Perri and all of the seniors on the basketball team wanted to do something to recognize how much Jack means to this community; everyone’s rallying behind it. Our Upper School administration, along with the athletic administration, put our heads together, and this is the result. The proceeds are going to support cancer research down at CHOP (Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia), and we’re excited about that.
“It will bring awareness to a really tough cause, and a tough battle. Jack’s a great kid, everything you could ask for in a Haverford School kid. An athlete, a student, kind of the life of our student section here at the basketball games. Jack brings a lot of energy here.”
“We just couldn’t be prouder of this school, this community (with) the love that they’ve shown for Jack and his family,” said Haverford School headmaster John Nagl. “Jack has been an important member of the Haverford School family for many years. His father is a faculty member here and a beloved coach. If love could make Jack better, it would be doing it at this event.”
Jack’s father, Steve Cloran, coached the Fords basketball team from 2004-2011.
Before the game, the Fords’ five seniors, Scott Burke, MJ Atkins, Jack Leary, Matt McKenna and Dante Perri, were introduced. Perri spoke briefly to the crowd about Jack Cloran, and thanked them for their support. The five Fords seniors walked over to the Haverford School student section, and a poster was unfurled that had Jack’s picture on it, along with the words, “#FordsForeverWin.”
Then, the Germantown Academy players filed by the student section, each of them shaking hands with Jack.
It would be a game worthy of the importance of the event, with Germantown Academy edging Haverford School, 69-66 in overtime. Afterward, McKenna and his teammate, junior Chris Simms, reflected on the support the Fords community had shown.
“The support tonight was definitely great,” McKenna said. “We all love Jack. I played football with Jack. He’s a great person, unbelievable mentality, one of my best friends.”
“I think tonight shows the brotherhood we have here at Haverford, that people hear about, or see on-line, it really came out today,” Simms added.
Once the game began, the Fords and the visiting Patriots entertained the packed house with a spirited battle that remained close throughout. The Fords held a 57-54 lead with 25.2 seconds left, but a GA trey from the right side at the buzzer sent the game into overtime.
Once there, the Patriots eventually pulled away to the three-point win. GA’s talented junior guard Jordan Longino led the way with 26 points. The Fords got 28 points from junior Christian Clover and 15 points from junior Zach Genther.
“We’ve had a couple of games this year where the ball hasn’t bounced our way,” Haverford School coach Bernie Rogers said, “but our kids did everything they could tonight.”
Of course, the game played second billing to the show of support for Jack Cloran.
“This is a close-knit community,” Rogers said. “They care about each other. Our seniors really wanted to do something for Jack on their special night.”
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