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Fords Sports

Week #7 [Inter-AC #1] News Articles

Posted Saturday, October 11, 2008 by Haverford Football

Haverford School snaps a 17-year skid

The Fords bested Penn Charter, 32-22, to end a long run of futility against the Quakers.

When Haverford School quarterback Dan Judge was a sophomore, Penn Charter beat the Fords, 56-0. Judge and a few of his senior teammates remember that pasting very well.  So there was plenty of motivation for the Fords yesterday when they opened their Inter-Academic League season at Penn Charter. That and the fact that Haverford School hadn't beaten the Quakers since 1991 was enough to get everybody at school stirred, according to Judge.  "It was the talk at school all week," the quarterback said after passing for two touchdowns and running for another as the Fords ended the 17-year losing streak with a 32-22 win. "My teachers kept coming up to me and telling me 'good luck.' That 56-0 loss was definitely on my mind."

The victory was the fifth in six games for the Fords, who are off to their best start in several seasons. Their only loss has been a 7-0 setback against Cardinal O'Hara.

The Fords jumped out to a 26-7 halftime lead, but a couple of late touchdowns by the Quakers made it interesting.  After Penn Charter tied the game, 7-7, on the first of two long kickoff returns by Michael Brown, the Fords built their big halftime lead on a second touchdown by AJ Kaikai-Jones, another TD by Carl Walrath, and a third by Wyatt Benson on an 84-yard run with a blocked field goal.

"We've been playing well in most phases of the game," Haverford School coach Mike Murphy said. "We need to look at our kickoff coverage, though." He was referring to the two long kickoff returns by Brown. "The kids were certainly aware of the long losing streak, but we didn't prepare anything special for this game."

When Penn Charter's Mike Foley scored on a pass from quarterback John Loughery to make it 32-22, there were 3 minutes, 44 seconds remaining. An ensuing onside kick did not work, although the Quakers disputed the ruling on which team had recovered it.

QB Judge leads Haverford to victory over Penn Charter

YOU BE the Judge.

When he transferred out of longtime power St. Joseph's Prep following his freshman year, did Dan Judge make the right move in choosing Haverford School?

Wait. Before you snicker and/or make derisive comments, check out the current Fords.

Thanks in part to Judge, a 6-3, 210-pound senior quarterback with the ability to gun the ball out of the pocket and truck people when he leaves it, Haverford boasts a 5-1 overall record and only a total collapse in the last four games will prevent not only its first winning season since 2000, but only its fifth in the last 33.

Also, Judge is progressing daily under the tutelage of ex-Penn State star Zack Mills, an assistant to head coach Michael Murphy, and has already accepted a scholarship to a Division I-AA power, Richmond.

Judge is either very lucky or extremely perceptive.

He'll go with the latter, thank you.

"When I decided to leave the Prep, and then met with coach Murphy, I knew he was turning the program around," Judge said. "I wanted to be a part of that, definitely."

Judge spoke yesterday a shade after 6 p.m., as the Fords basked in the glow of a successful Inter-Ac League opener.

They'd just bested host Penn Charter, 32-22, with Judge passing for two touchdowns and running for another.

Judge explained that the daily trip to Prep from Chester Springs, in Chester County, was quite the grind. It was taking 60 to 75 minutes in each direction and his academics were suffering.

Where to go next? Hey, how about Haverford? Haverford!!??

"I knew they'd had a couple struggling years," Judge said.

Years? Try decades.

"Yeah, I didn't want to say that," he shot back with a laugh.

Judge passed 8-for-12 for 79 yards and his team's first two touchdowns, covering 2 and 24 yards to AJ Jones (5-41). His rushing stats showed 11 carries for 36 yards and he made it 32-6 on a 10-yard bolt with 7:33 remaining.

As Judge crossed the goal line in the right corner, he held the ball at arm's length in front of him. Little excited there, buddy?

"Just trying to showboat a little," he said. "Have a little bit of fun."

All day, PC assigned defensive end Justin Renfrow (6-4, 240), a Virginia commit, to pound Judge as often as possible.

"I didn't see the [second TD] to AJ," Judge said. "I was on my back. Renfrow was definitely trying to put a hurtin' on me. He played a good game.

"The passes to AJ were 'feel routes.' We've reached the spot where I can throw it to a spot and know he's going to be there to catch it."

From Mills, Judge said he is learning "the whole strategy of playing quarterback." His arm strength has steadily improved, as have his leadership skills, and he acknowledges that he's still working on the mental aspect.

As for the Fords' other TDs . . . One was somewhat pedestrian, as Carl Walrath went 14 yards with a counter. The other was almost an all-timer, as Wyatt Benson returned a blocked field goal 84 yards. The city record is 87, set by Bishop McDevitt's Scott Yancey in 1975.

In defeat, its first against Haverford since 1991, PC at least had fun in the form of two long kickoff-return TDs by Michael Brown (85 and 86 yards). And with 3 minutes, 44 seconds left, sophomore John Loughery, first cousin of Atlanta Falcons rookie Matt Ryan, whipped a 6-yard TD pass to Mick Foley.

Judge, an impressive physical specimen, thinks Richmond would be a great fit for his skills.

"They do some power running," he said. "But they also like to throw the ball around. They like to keep the ball in the quarterback's hands and let him make plays."

Although most I-A observers are conceding the championship to powerful Malvern Prep, the next school of thought is that the Fords can at least finish second. The teams meet Friday afternoon at Haverford.

"We've gotten better little by little over the past 3 years," Judge said. "We've done hard work in the weight room. Came to school all summer for workouts. Now, during free periods, we watch game films just to make sure we're prepared.

"Everyone wants this really bad."

No way to misJudge that. *

Haverford quarterback Dan Judge (above) looks for play to develop, and Haverford's Wyatt Benson avoids tackle by Penn Charter's Michael Brown.

   Photos by RACHEL PLAYE
Haverford School shows off its versatilty

PHILADELPHIA - The Haverford School is turning the rest of the Inter-Ac League's worst nightmare into a reality by developing a dangerous air assault to go along with its already lethal ground game.

Dan Judge hooked up with A.J. Jones for a pair of first-half touchdown passes for the Fords en route to a 32-22 win at Penn Charter in the league opener for both teams Friday.
"We have gotten to the point where I can throw the ball to a spot and I know (Jones) is going to be there to catch it," said Judge, who also ran for a score in the fourth quarter.
The pair have been working on their chemistry since the summer when Jones, a junior, became eligible for the varsity roster.

"We've been working all offseason with our routes," Jones said. "Now we're on the same page so I guess the hard work is paying off."  The offensive line is also benefiting from their bonding work. A unit that welcomed three new starters this year is growing stronger as the season goes on, both opening holes for the backs and giving Judge plenty of time for his reads. "They help us out with their running abilities to get us the Ws, we just help them out by opening the holes," said junior tackle Max Silver.

Spending time both on and off the field together has the line quickly jelling.
"Every day we're always together," Silver said. "Always eating lunch together, always in the locker room together, always doing everything together."  The line can't even wait to get in front of their sleds to practice during the week. "Even during school we practice like that, blocking each other," Silver said.

Despite his various skills under center, Judge knows that the numbers he puts up are largely due to the line.  "They've played tremendous for us," Judge said. "They are a feisty group, they get after the defense and they want to protect us,"   The line's openings allowed six Ford rushers to combine for 253 yards, lead by Terance Fitzsimmons with a game-high 111. The senior running back was also key in drawing attention on a pair of play-action plays that resulted in the Judge-to-Jones touchdown connections.
"He definitely helps open up the passing game," said Judge of Fitzsimmons.
With opposing defenses keying on the Fords' backfield threats, the receivers are optimistic that means more balls headed their way.

"Hopefully we can pass more as the season goes on," said Jones. "At least to keep the defenses honest."  Jones did it on defense, too. He intercepted a Penn Charter pass with a minute to go in the game to ice it.  "They put me in on some passing plays," Jones said. "Looks like they made the right call."

The rest of the Haverford School defense had a strong game as well, allowing only one touchdown on a possession that began on the Fords' 25-yard line after Coach Michael Murphy decided to go for it on fourth-and-short.   The defense did manage to stop Penn Charter drives deep in its territory in the first half by forcing a fumble and blocking a field goal attempt which was returned 88 yards by Wyatt Benson for a score.

"They've played huge all season long," said Murphy of his defense. "Those are big stops to get on the road on a Friday afternoon. Getting stops like that is big and they've been getting those all season long."  Those stops have given Judge and the rest of the offense plenty of scoreboard cushion and great field position to work with.  "Having a senior quarterback who can call a lot of the game at the line of scrimmage is huge," Murphy said.
Having a quarterback whom is just as dangerous with his legs as his arm is also a tremendous advantage for the Fords. But Judge has no preference on whether he runs or throws for a score.

"Whatever gets it done," Judge said. "Whatever gets the win." More and more for the Fords, they are able to take their pick.

By: Ted Silary  www.tedsilary.com

Haverford School 32, Penn Charter 22

Well, lookie here. We’re edging toward mid-October and a football season is actually being enjoyed at HS. The Fords have posted winning records in just four times in the last 33 seasons, but this will be No. 5 unless they somehow drop their last four games. This was their first win over PC since 1991. The star that season was stud rusher Dave Stilley, who went on to play pro lacrosse. In that win he had 48 carries (one short of the city record) for 231 yards. What a horse that kid was! Speaking of franchise players, this squad has several. DN ink went to sr. QB Dan Judge (6-3, 210), who recently committed to I-AA power Richmond. He’s sturdy and confident (OK, even cocky, but in a good way – smile) and can hurt defenses with his arm and feet. Judge passed 8-for-12 for 79 yards and a pair of scores to sr. WR AJ Jones, another headliner. Both scores came on posts and those patterns take brass, of course, because the receiver is more susceptible to unguarded pops. Part of PC’s strategy was to punish Judge again and again with sr. DE Justin Renfrow (Virginia), both on passes and keepers/pitchouts. Renfrow buried Judge on his second TD pass so he didn’t even see Jones’ catch. By the way, the focus of the DN story concerned how Judge transferred to HS after his freshman year from SJ Prep. At the time, people would have called that the most unwise FB move in history. Not lookin’ too bad now, though, eh? Also for HS, though he didn’t get into the end zone, sr. RB Terance FitzSimmons ran 24 times for 125 yards. And then, and then, and then . . . we have Wyatt Benson! As the half wound down, PC sr. Billy O’Boyle tried a short FG. The ball slipped off the block as O’Boyle approached and the kick was low right into the line. The ball bounced a shade toward the visiting sideline and there was momentary confusion among at least some of the players because not all of them moved toward the ball. Benson did, though. He made the scoop, took off and went 84 yards for a TD. The effort enabled him to sniff the city record for longest TD return of a blocked punt – it belongs to McDevitt’s Scott Yancey, who dashed 87 in ’75. I covered that game as well (for Montgomery Newspapers) . It was played on Germantown’s field and Yancey scored in the north end zone. Pretty sure the opponent was Kenrick. PC’s highlight was a pair of terrific kickoff returns by sr. Michael Brown, who apparently goes by “Breezy.” Well, dude was breezin’ on these returns, folks (smile). The distances were 85 and 86 yards and he made them look kinda easy. The first one was textbook. Brown eased slowly upfield at first, looking for his opening. Once he saw it, zoom, see ya! Not even sure he was touched. The second one took more savvy, as he was jostled a couple times before breaking free. PC’s new QB is soph John Loughery, first cousin of the original starter, sr. John Ryan (injured). John is the brother of Atlanta Falcons rookie Matt Ryan and Loughery’s dad, also named John, was a star QB at PC before playing at Boston College and preceding Doug Flutie as the starter. This “Lock” is still feeling his way. He’s still growing into his body (6-4, 185) and just does not yet have the kind of presence he surely will as time marches on. He finished 10-for-27 for 83 yards, but at least many of the misses were “almosts,” meaning those will soon become completions with fine-tuning. Lock picked up his first career TD pass with 3:44 left on a 6-yard, right-corner toss to jr. WR Mick Foley. Haverford’s grunts included sr. C Shomari "Mega" Watts, jr. G Nick "401K" Pension, jr. G Kieran “Hertz” Avis, jr. T Stephen "My Legs Are" Aitken (also the punter) and jr. T Max "And a Hearty Hi Yo" Silver. Sr. DB Chris Ambrogi broke up several passes while Jones had a late interception. For PC, Brown also rushed 14 times for 93 yards. Judge’s 10-yard keeper gave HS a 32-6 lead, but at least PC rallied to create a respectable final score.    

Silary photos:  http://flickr.com/photos/8172647@N06/sets/72157607925984869/detail/

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