Article & Videos: by John Knebels
Photos: Zamani Feelings & Mike Nance
MALVERN, PA –Timmy Ruth was by himself in the middle of the field. A perfectly thrown ball landed in his midsection. Only problem was, Malvern Prep senior free safety TyGee Leach arrived at the same time, forcing an incomplete pass after drilling the Germantown Academy senior with the epitome of a hard, clean football tackle.
When the play was over, Ruth lay on the field somewhat motionless. Within seconds, Malvern Prep’s players took a knee, as did most of Germantown Academy’s. This was one of the moments that make people question why anyone would subject his body to the brutality of football.
About two minutes later – it seemed much longer – Ruth stood up without support. Malvern’s fans and players clapped. Ruth’s teammates patted him on the helmet and shoulder pads. The Patriots’ sideline welcomed their quad-captain with periodic embraces.
Germantown Academy would go on to lose the game, 34-16, against an undefeated Malvern team (10-0 overall, 4-0 Inter-Ac) that has played at an extremely high level all season long.
Ruth’s ability to gather the strength, stamina, and wherewithal to not only get up on his own, but later return to the game at defensive back and on special teams, was, in a sense, symbolic of GA’s overall effort.
“I lost my breath a little bit so I was just trying to take a deep breath,” said Ruth. “I knew once I could get my breath back, I was going to be good to go. It was a good play by number 7.”
Ruth said he and his teammates are never intimidated.
“I look forward to the challenge,” said Ruth. “I think our whole team has that mentality to never back down.”
No one gave the Patriots (6-3, 1-3) a realistic chance to win the game; even maintaining a decent margin was improbable. But GA battled the Friars, trailing by only 14-3 at halftime.
Malvern took control in the second half, but touchdowns by senior Jack Sheridan (kickoff return) and junior Tayshaun Mack (reception off a perfect pass by senior Matt Brittingham), alongside another solid running output by junior Trae Vance (102 yards on 26 carries; sixth game this year in triple figures), allowed the Patriots to feel pretty darn good about themselves.
“I think it’s one of the best games we’ve played all year,” said senior tackle Justin Wajda, who in next week’s season finale against visiting Penn Charter will become the first Patriot to start all 40 games of his four-year career. “There were a couple minor issues here and there, but you’re gonna have a hard game against a team of this caliber.
“I think we performed at a high level today. They’re a very physical team, but I think we kept up with them.”
(Video Interviews by John Knebels)
Senior two-way lineman Elijah Wroten said Germantown Academy reveled in playing a potential spoiler role.
“Our mentality was more like, since we can’t win the Inter-Ac, we can at least play hard and control who does,” said Wroten. “This past week, we were just pushing ourselves and just trying to come into this game fighting. It was very physical. Our team has a lot of fight in us.”
After watching his teammate answer a bone-jarring hit by returning to finish the rest of the game, no one could question Germantown Academy’s fight.
In another Inter-Academic League contest, Springside Chestnut Hill(6-4, 1-3) ended a three-game slide by edging visiting Haverford School, 27-24. Three different Blue Devils threw a touchdown pass – one by senior quarterback Aaron Angelos, and one each off trick plays by senior Pat Elliott and junior Ke’Shawn Williams – his second such scoring toss this year.
Williams also caught his 15th TD of the year; senior tight end Brian Richardson snared the other two touchdowns. Senior Rob Gentile gained 137 yards on 21 hauls.
For the Fords (3-5, 1-3), junior quarterback Dante Perri completed 15 of 28 passes for a career-high 187 yards. Senior Nate Whitaker garnered 70 of those yards after grabbing career-high seven receptions.
Penn Charter visited Episcopal Academy over the weekend and defeated the Churchmen 27-23. Full recap can be found here.