By CHRISTOPHER A. VITO
HAVERFORD — About a week back, Haverford coach Joe Gallagher expressed his discontent with his team’s giddy-up out of the gate.
Slow starts in consecutive games made Gallagher get on the offensive, leading to a change to the Fords’ offense. So Friday night, they debuted a no-huddle package they hadn’t used in any situation other than the two-minute drill.
And 109 seconds later, Haverford had its first touchdown in what amounted to a 49-23 lopsided victory over Octorara in a nonleague contest at A.G. Cornog Stadium.
Quarterback Eddie Durkin equaled his career-best by rolling up five touchdowns — two through the air on 144 yards, three on the ground to go with 81 yards — and the Fords (4-1) reeled off their fourth straight victory.
“It’s great to have a night like this,” said Durkin, a senior, “but we’re not out to make a statement like this. We want to stay in the (Central League) hunt.”
“Games like this aren’t fun,” added running back Alex Drum. “The next four will be fun.”
Those include home dates with Harriton, Strath Haven and Conestoga before hitting the road for a game against Garnet Valley.
“It doesn’t get any easier for us,” Gallagher said, “which is why it was nice to get going like this. It got our confidence up and hopefully we can turn that into wins in the next couple weeks.”
That no-huddle offense only popped up once, with Haverford needing five plays to find the end zone. It only got worse for Octorara (1-4) thereafter, with the Fords turning loose Drum and Durkin.
Drum churned up 94 yards and a touchdown on seven carries, and his 34-yard reception set up a touchdown prior to halftime. Durkin had it going in both phases of his game, with Marcus Sydnor being the main benefactor. Sydnor pulled in two passes for 74 yards and two touchdowns, both in the first half, to give the Fords a 42-3 cushion at halftime.
Octorara got it going only after Gallagher had gone to his second-team guys in the third and fourth quarters. And when Braves quarterback Alex Gooden came out of the game in favor of the second string, with 6:32 left in the fourth quarter, he had 232 of Octorara’s 230 yards. How is that possible? Because the rest of the Braves had accumulated minus-2 yards offensively.
“Honestly, I like the burden,” Gooden said. “I want to be the one that can help this team turn it around. It’s going to be a team effort, but I want that responsibility.”
The Fords’ victory was a big one, in terms of sheer numbers. But they know the bigger victories are out there waiting for them.
“We want this to be the springboard for the rest of our season,” Drum said.
Haverford 49, Octorara 23
Octorara 3 0 0 20 — 23
Haverford 20 22 0 7 — 49
H- Durking 20 run (Russell kick)
H- Drum 9 run (kick blocked)
O- Byerly 15 field goal
H- Sydnor 40 pass from Durkin (Russell kick)
H- Durkin 35 run (Durkin run)
H- Sydnor 34 pass from Durkin (Russell kick)
H- Durkin 5 run (Durkin run)
O- Cooper 1 run (Byerly run)
O- Norris 31 run (kick failed)
H- Lyons 26 run (Russell kick)
O- Wheating-Devlin 45 run (run failed)
First downs 11 17
Rushes-Yards 29-183 32-264
Passing yards 123 144
Total yards 306 408
Passing 12-19-2 5-10-0
Punts-Average 3-29.9 3-33.3
Fumbles-Lost 1-1 1-0
Penalties-Yards 4-25 5-50
Rushing: Octorara — Gooden 15-109, Wheating-Devlin 1-45, Norris 3-33, Cooper 8-3, Devlin 2-(-7). Haverford — Drum 7-94, Durkin 8-81, Lyons 2-33, Leyden 4-25, J Kim 9-22, Ramos 1-8, Thornton 1-1.
Passing: Octorara — Gooden 12-19-2, 123. Haverford — Durkin 5-10-0, 144.
Receiving: Octorara — Butler 5-73, Thompson 3-19, Dinorscia 2-16, Devlin 1-13, Cooper 1-2. Haverford — Sydnor 2-74, Leyden 2-18, Drum 1-34, Cresta 1-16.