By BILL RUDICK
KENNETT SQUARE — Take out a big gain on a run by Haverford’s Matt Galambos after the game was pretty much in the bag and, statistically
speaking, Haverford School and host Kennett were just about even. Except for one key number — turnovers.
The Fords picked off three passes and forced another fumble to win the turnover battle. More importantly, they converted every one of those turnovers into points on the way to handing Blue Demons their first loss of the season, 34-14, on Saturday afternoon.
“We’ve been battling turnovers all season,” said Kennett coach Scott Green. “Today it caught up with us, and it’s something we’re going to have to work on going forward.”
Haverford School (2-2) scored first on a one-yard plunge by Stephen Fitzgerald, his first of four on the afternoon, but missed the extra point. Kennett (3-1) responded as quarterback Jordan Jones scored on a nine-yard jaunt for a 7-6 lead after one quarter.
Fitzgerald’s scored touchdown on the day, early in the second, put the Fords up 12-7, and it looked as the back-and-forth would continue as Kennett answered right back with a nice drive of its own. But with just under two minutes to play in the half, Matt Galambos picked off a Jones pass and returned it to the Kennett 17-yard line. Two plays later, Galambos ran it in from the two to extend the lead to 20-7 at the break.
“I just made my reads and dropped back into my zone and let it come to me,” said Galambos. “It made a huge difference in our confidence going into the half up by two scores.”
Kennett came out of the break with another long drive, this one a 15-play, 65 yard drive that ate up over nine minutes and culminated when Jones ran it in from the nine to get the Blue Demons back to within a touchdown at 20-14.
“We talked at the half about what we needed to do,” said Green. “And we came out and we did it. We moved the ball pretty well all day, really. We just put ourselves in a bad situation when we didn’t cover up the onside kick.”
Haverford recovered Kennett’s attempt at its own 46, seven plays later and barely a minute into the fourth quarter, Fitzgerald scored once again, this time from ten-yards out.
“I might have an advantage as someone who has coached in a triple option offense like Kennett runs,” said Haverford coach Michael Murphy. “You know that there will be times when you’re facing the triple that you are going to give up long drives. You just can’t panic, and just make sure you take advantage when you have the ball. You can’t afford a three-and-out and put the ball back in their hands.”
Kennett appeared to catch a break when they recovered a Fords fumble with eight minutes to play. Taking over at its own 22 and still needing a pair of scores, the Blue Demons went to the air. Jones connected with three different receivers to move the deep into Haverford territory. Facing a second-and-eight at the Haverford 24, Jones threw over the middle, but Darren Watson stepped in front and picked off the pass, the third for Haverford on the day.
Following a 40-yard run from Galambos, Fitzgerald ended the scoring, rumbling in from the 15.
Galambos led all rushers on the day, rolling up 125 yards on 12 carries. Jordan Lardani paced the Blue Demons with 69 yards on 22 carries. Jones chipped in with another 33 on 13 carries.
“Haverford is a big, skilled athletic team,” said Green. “But these kids really played hard from start to finish. We found some things we need to work on, so we’ll work on them, make the adjustments we need to make, and get back at it next week.”
Haverford School 34, Kennett 14
Haverford School 6 14 0 14--34
Kennett 7 0 7 0--14
HV--Fitzgerald 1 run (Kick failed)
K--Jones 9 run (Rose kick)
HV--Fitzgerald 1 run (Kick failed)
HV--Galambos 2 run (Galambos run)
K--Jones 1 run (Rose kick)
HV--Fitzgerald 11 run (Morgan kick)
HV--Fitzgerald 15 run (Morgan kick)
First downs 11 13
Yards rushing 219 118
Yards passing 84 96
Total yards 303 214
Passing 4-7-0 6-11-3
Fumbles-Lost 1-1 2-1
Penalties 7-76 3-30
Punts-Avg. 1-31.0 0-0
RUSHING - Haverford School: Galambos 12-125 TD, Fitzgerald 3-46 4TD, Hill 10-37, Morgan 1-17, Giubilato 1-4. Kennett: Lardani 22-69, Jones 13-33 2TD, Niewinski 2-16.
PASSING - Haverford School: Fitzgerald 4-7-0, 84 yards. Kennett: Jones 6-11-3, 91 yards.
RECEIVING - Haverford School: Giubilato 3-68, Watson 1-16. Kennett: McQuiston 2-32, Niewinski 2-26, Lardani 1-22, Clarke 1-16.
SACKS - Haverford School: Galambos. Kennett: None.
INTERCEPTIONS - Haverford School: Galambos, Morgan, Watson. Kennett: None.