Player of the Week
Junior (FS/WR) Chris Ambrogi was excellent on both sides of the ball for the Fords on Saturday. He had 3 catches for 50yds and 1TD on offense, and an interception and numerous tackles on defense. Ambrogi exemplified the toughness that the team played with, when he walked away from two hard hits put on him by Penn Charter's #11 Blaise Fullen.
Player of the Week - Honorable Mentions
Offense - Offensive Line
Defense - Defensive Line
Special Teams - Stephen Aitken (P)
Haverford School falls
HAVERFORD — Haverford School coach Mike Murphy loves the toughness of his football team. Friday afternoon, however, it was the Fords’ toughness that made the result so tough to take.
Facing a Penn Charter team that throttled them last season and entered this year’s matchup with a 3-1 mark, the Fords hung right with their guests until Quakers’ receiver Ed Bambino took a short pass on a crucial third down with under eight minutes remaining and proceeded to sprint 75 yards for a touchdown.
The Quakers added another score with an interception return for a touchdown with 49 seconds left in the contest. But that touchdown did nothing but puff up the margin of victory in the end result that was a 35-14 Fords’ loss.
It wasn’t until Bambino’s catch and run that the Quakers proved what could have been assumed by looking at last year’s result and the records entering Friday’s Inter-Academic League opener — that they were the better of the two teams.
Even after they fell behind by 14 points with 7:54 to play, the Fords (3-4, 0-1) did not pack in their toughness, the trait that kept them in a game that never got out of hand and never felt like anything close to the 56-point defeat that the Quakers (4-1, 1-0) handed them a year ago.
After falling behind 28-14, the Fords kept their offense marching. And on a second down and 10 from their 41-yard line, junior Chris Ambrogi displayed the no-quit attitude on which the Fords pride themselves.
Quarterback Dan Judge fired a pass over the middle that Ambrogi caught in traffic and held onto to as he took a ferocious shot to the chest. The hit sent the 5-11, 170-pound junior to the turf, shoulders first, where he landed with a thud and without his helmet that landed some five yards in the opposite direction.
“That was one of the toughest catches I’ve ever seen in high school football,” Murphy said. “That shows his heart and the heart of this team. They never quit. They believe in themselves and they should.”
Ambrogi ended with three catches for 50 yards and a touchdown. He also contributed a second-quarter interception at the goal line that kept the score at 14-7 entering halftime.
“I knew I had to hold on to the ball and I knew I had to get up,” Ambrogi said of the highlight-reel hit he absorbed. “We showed our heart today. We showed what this team is all about. Teams think we are a soft team that they can roll on. But we showed that we will play any team tough.”
Fords’ Running back Terance Fitzsimmons finished with 71 yards on 10 carries. His 3-yard touchdown run with 9:01 left in the game brought his team to within 14 points before Bambino broke the game back open.
Judge had a tough day with two interceptions. However, he did go 9 of 15 for 115 yards and a touchdown. And the latter of his two picks came on a desperation throw on fourth down and was deflected before falling into the hands of the Quakers’ defensive back.
The Fords did fumble away the ball twice, to end up with four turnovers.
“Too many mental mistakes, too many physical mistakes,” Judge said. “Mistakes do happen, but you have to limit them if you want to beat a team like this.”
— JON CAMPBELL
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Penn Charter 35, Haverford School 14
Finally! Yes, it now appears that true football weather is upon us. After weeks of some unseasonably sticky temperatures I was able to get a dose of more typical fall conditions. There was a wind-swept moment or two and a hint of briskness in the air for this Inter-Ac opener for both the Fords and the visiting Quakers. The final score might show a three-touchdown victory for Penn Charter, but in actuality this game was more tightly contested. The undoing for the young Fords (just five seniors on the roster) was undoubtedly turnovers. They committed five in the game and three led to Quaker scores. In fact, two picks were returned for touchdowns in the second half.
For Haverford, there is much to like about [jr. QB Dan] Judge and his youthful teammates. I would think experience lent a hand in today’s defeat and more of that may occur in a tough league as the season progresses. Still, you have to think that next season could bring some promise and it will start with the experience they garner this year. Judge finished with 114 passing yards, on 9-for-15 passing. Also known for good wheels he could only manage four total yards on 16 lugs versus a stout Quaker defense. Early on he beautifully executed a screen pass that went for a 32-yard touchdown to [RB/DB Chris] Amborgi that knotted the score at 7-7. [Jr. RB Terance] Fitzsimmons (10-70, also 59 yards on 4 kickoff returns) and soph FB Wyatt Benson (6-26) showed flashes.
If I had a complaint, it would be that I would like to see them get up field quicker as the play begins. On occasion they appeared to be looking when room was already available. I think with more experience this should change and they could form a nice one-two punch for the Fords. Ambrogi had 50 yards on three receptions and made a pick on defense. Benson had a fumble recovery and made 5 stops (4 solos) . Jr. NG Shomari Watts had a sack amongst his five total stops. Sr. LB Andrew Hubley (6’4”, 240 lbs) made five tackles, while jr. LB Justin Schellenger and jr. LB Anthony Martino each made four stops apiece. For the game, the Fords out-gained the Quakers 244-to-232.
Decent PA work by the Haverford announcer throughout the game. My personal favorite came as the second began. He stated, “Presumably, we have a lost cell phone. It is reported to have been found in the ladies’ room. We now have it up on the perch.” If I didn’t know I was at an Inter-Ac game before this announcement, I did then…!
Huck’s Corner (Ed “Huck” Palmer)