By: John Knebels
HAVERFORD, PA--Malvern Prep prides itself on taking every opponent seriously. Doesn’t matter the record. Doesn’t matter the trend. Doesn’t matter about opponent injuries. Doesn’t matter what others predict.
So when visiting Haverford School on a chilly Friday afternoon, the Friars didn’t care about adversaries limping in after a lackluster loss at Penn Charter one week earlier, or the home crowd that would certainly be inspired to root for their young Fords.
“You have to take advantage of every opportunity that you have,” said senior two-way stalwart TyRee Leach. “One week could be your last play, so you have to keep playing as hard as you can.
“We play every game the same. Haverford is an easy game to get pumped up for, but we try to bring that same energy to every single game.”
Sparked by a 24-0 lead, the Friars defeated the Fords, 38-20, to raise their undefeated record to 9-0 overall and 3-0 in the Inter-Academic League. Malvern’s winning steak now stands at 14 and 12, respectively.
Malvern Prep's TyRee Leach, who contributed on both offense and defense, lauds his teammates and coaches. (Video- John Knebels for PSD).
Senior Quincy Watson provided a highlight-reel, 70-yard touchdown run and finished with two scores and a career-high 192 yards on 28 carries. Senior quarterback Drew Gunther had another outstanding afternoon, completing 12 of 18 passes for 142 yards and three touchdowns to Leach, senior Ryan Iacone, and sophomore Lonnie White. That trio has been responsible for exactly half of Gunther’s 20 scoring tosses.
“We have a very talented group of receivers,” said Gunther. “We have six different guys (White, Leach, Iacone, senior Keith Maguire, junior Ryan Maguire, and Tyler Tinson) who could very well be number-one receivers on a lot of other high school teams. They all share the spotlight very well and are each other’s biggest fans. We all feed off each other’s success.”
Malvern senior defensive lineman John Turley was a force inside. His constant disruption of Haverford plays from scrimmage helped hold the frustrated Fords (3-4, 1-2) to a miserly 40 yards rushing and 115 passing, many of them against non-starters.
“Every game we don’t go in thinking, ‘This one kid is gonna be this one who makes a play,’’’ said Turley. “We just rely on each other to make plays. That’s what happens when we do our jobs. Whoever is in position to make that play is going to make that play.”
Malvern' Prep's John Turley talks about about his team's cohesiveness in doing what it takes to get the job done (Video- John Knebels for PSD).
Junior Caimin Hayes and sophomore D’Angelo Stocker intercepted passes, giving Malvern an almost implausible 17 for the season. Dating back to last fall, the Friars have a 10-game interception streak, one of only three teams in the entire state of Pennsylvania that can make such a claim.
According to star senior linebacker Keith Maguire, Malvern’s thievery doesn’t happen by accident.
“We just stick to what we are taught and play our roles,” said Maguire. “Our coaches are very good at making sure we are well prepared for each game and what they like to do.”
In other Inter-Academic League action . . .
Episcopal Academy senior DeeWil Barlee was a one-main show in the Churchmen’s 27-7 victory overwhelmed visiting Germantown Academy, 29-7. Barlee rushed 25 times, gained 153 yards, and scored two touchdowns. He also intercepted two passes on defense.
Junior quarterback Maurcus McDaniel rushed for 118 yards on 14 carries. He ran for one score and tossed another to sophomore Malcolm Folk. The Churchmen (6-2 overall, 2-1 Inter-Ac) play host to Penn Charter 7 PM Friday; Germantown Academy (6-2, 1-2) visits Malvern Prep 1 PM Saturday.
Eddie Saydee was unstoppable in Penn Charter’s 35-13 win over Springside Chestnut Hill Academy. The senior back collected 138 yards on 24 hauls. He and senior Brendan Thomas were on the receiving end of junior quarterback Kyle Jones’ three TD hurls. The Quakers (6-2, 2-1) will play at Episcopal Academy 7 PM Friday. The Blue Devils (5-4, 0-3) visit Haverford School 2 PM Saturday.