FORT WASHINGTON — The Haverford School didn’t need any added motivation to beat up on Germantown Academy.
The Fords, after all, are in position to finish in second place in the Inter-Academic League for the first time. That is enough incentive to end the season on a positive note.
But what the Fords players and coaches heard said about them from the Germantown Academy sideline last week got their attention. Actually, it was perfect bulletin-board material as they prepared for Saturday’s 12-0 victory.
“They were losing, 53-7, to Malvern Prep and they started talking about how they would win the next two games against ‘beatable’ teams,” Fords quarterback Dan Judge said. “One of those teams they were talking about was us. It definitely fired us up.”
The Fords let their defense do the talking in Saturday’s shutout win over the Patriots at Germantown Academy’s Deacon Field.
“The coaches said all week that this would be a dogfight and that they would give us a good football game,” linebacker Shomari Watts said. “We heard what they said about us, but we just wanted to out there and play a solid game of football.”
Watts was a big reason why the Fords (6-3, 2-2) held the anemic offense of the Patriots (2-7, 0-4) to only four first downs and 108 yards of total offense. Watts stepped in front of a pair of Pete Haines passes for two interceptions, the first of which would have been an 88-yard touchdown had a block-in-the-back penalty by the Fords not been called.
“I never even had one interception before in my career,” said Watts, who also had a sack. “It was pretty special. I just wanted to get the ball and run up field as fast as I could. The second one when I actually made it all the way … it was a pretty intense moment.”
Watts provided the highlight-reel moments in a masterful defensive effort for Fords. Defensive end Robert Boyle helped lead a tortuous Fords run-stuffing clinic and safety Chris Ambrogi provided pass coverage support and one jaw-dropping hit on Patriots running back Lamont Jackson.
“I always talk about earning respect in this league,” Fords coach Mike Murphy said. “It doesn’t come easy. We knew that G.A. would give us a real test and they did exactly that. I am very proud of how this team responded. I thought that we played really well overall.”
The first two quarters certainly didn’t go as planned for the Fords. The offensive line struggled to protect Judge, who was sacked five times in the opening half. With two minutes to go before intermission, Judge and the offense finally found their grove. The Richmond-bound signal caller engineered a flawless drive, capped off with a great throw to wide receiver A.J. Kaikai-Jones with nine seconds remaining on the clock.
The catch was even better.
Judge dropped back from the G.A. 5-yard line, scrambled to his right and in the back of the end zone was Kaikai-Jones, who made a spectacular one-handed grab for the game’s first six points.
“A.J. hurt his left hand earlier, so he knew that the only way to catch that ball was with one hand,” Judge said. “He managed to keep his balance without going out of bounds. It was probably the most impressive throw that I’ve made in a long time.”
The Fords marched down the field on their first possession of the second half. Running back Terance Fitzsimmons (16 carries, 103 yards) scurried from five yards out to make it 12-0 with 2:09 left in the third quarter, capping a 13-play, 8:02 drive.
“I always like to give the offensive line credit and they were awesome on those two touchdown drives,” said Judge, who completed 7 of 14 passes for 116 yards.
The Fords made the Patriots eat some crow. Now, they’ll shift their focus to Episcopal Academy, a team they haven’t beaten in seven years. They’ll need to win that game, too.
“Second place in the Inter-Ac League would mean so much to this program,” Murphy said. “It would be a great accomplishment to this group. They have worked hard enough to earn it.”
By Rick WoelfelCorrespondent
FORT WASHINGTON - The rain held off Saturday afternoon, despite the threatening skies. But Germantown Academy’s football team still couldn’t generate any traction.
The Patriots were limited to just 115 yards in total offense in a 12-0 loss to Haverford School.
GA (2-7 overall, 0-4 Inter-Ac League) will try to break a four-game losing streak in its season finale next week against Penn Charter.
The Fords improved to 6-3 overall and 2-2 in the league.
The game was scoreless for virtually the entire first half, although the Fords reached the red zone on the first drive before being turned away.
The visitors finally got on the scoreboard when Dan Judge found A.J. Kaikai-Jones in the back of the end zone on a 5-yard hookup with just five seconds left in the first half.
Meanwhile, the Patriots were struggling offensively with just 37 offensive yards in the first half.
The Fords took a two-touchdown lead on their first drive of the third period when Terance Fitzsimmons went in from 4 yards out.
“We still had plenty of time when they got (a two-touchdown lead),” said GA coach Luke Harris. “Every time we got something going on offense, we’d hurt ourselves, either a penalty or a turnover. We just weren’t able to overcome our own mistakes.”
The Patriots reached the red zone in the final minutes, when QB Matt Haines hit Aaron Novak on a 40-yard completion, but couldn’t get on the scoreboard.
Rick Woelfel can be reached at intell_sports@phillyBurbs.com.