Friars check of their third straight victory after defeating the Fords, 31-7
The Malvern Prep Friars won their third straight game over an Inter-Ac rival after a dominant 31-7 win over the Fords of The Haverford School and garnered national attention in the process.
Malvern took control of the game from their very first play and never let up. Their offense produced a nationally recognized highlight play and their defense never broke, only allowing points on a broken play when the game was no longer in question.
After forcing Haverford to punt on their first possession, senior running back O’Shaan Allison set the tone with a 53-yard run to put the Friars in the red zone early in the first quarter.
Haverford’s defense regrouped and appeared to force Malvern to settle for a field goal, but the Friars did not want to settle for anything less than a touchdown. On 4th and 2, junior quarterback Drew Gunther hit junior running back Quincy Watson for a 22-yard touchdown reception.
The Friars defense then forced Haverford to punt again. On their second possession, Gunther marched the offense down into the red zone again. After electing not to go for it on fourth down a second time, senior kicker Garrett Reilly made it 10-0 with a 33-yard field goal in the final minute of the first quarter.
Scoring in the closing minutes of the quarter became a pattern for Malvern in this game. Two touchdowns in the final three minutes of the second quarter put this game away before halftime.
After being the player who initially kick-started Malvern’s offense on their first offensive play, it was only fitting that Allison later found the end zone. With 3:35 remaining in the first half, he sprinted through the line for a 19-yard touchdown to make it 17-0 Friars.
Malvern’s defense made sure the Friars got one final possession before halftime after a sack by junior defensive end Danny Garrity forced the Fords to punt yet again.
The Friars two minute drill seemed like it wouldn’t go anywhere after Gunther was sacked for an eight yard loss on first down by senior defensive lineman Anthony Reginelli.
Not wanting to take a knee before halftime, Malvern took a shot down field two plays later. On a play action pass, Gunther rolled to his right and connected with senior receiver Kevin Boyle for a 48-yard reception to give the Friars 1st and goal from the Haverford 7-yard line.
On 1st and goal Allison rushed for a 1-yard gain. What happened on second down was not only the play of the game, but also drew the attention of ESPN and was featured later that night as #2 on SportCenter’s top 10 plays of the night. (Footage below).
Junior receiver Keith Maguire ran a fade route to the back corner of the end zone. Gunther lofted the ball up high to where only his receiver would be able to reach it. In a move that drew comparisons to New York Giant’s receiver Odell Beckham Jr.’s famous one handed catch, Maguire leaped up and at full extension palmed the ball with his right hand a split second before falling backwards.
Maguire’s incredible 6-yard touchdown reception put the Friars up 24-0 with just 51 seconds left in the first half.
With the game already in hand, Malvern was content with letting their two talented running backs kill the clock in the second half. With 3:02 remaining in the third quarter, Watson found the end zone again for a 3-yard touchdown run, his second of the night, to put the Friars up 31-0.
The defense was not able to complete the shutout though after Haverford’s offense finally broke through early in the fourth quarter with their own highlight reel worthy play.
Pinned deep in their own territory, sophomore quarterback Patrick Toal lobbed a pass, which easily could have been intercepted, to junior receiver Dan Whaley at midfield. Whaley was able to wrestle the ball away from the hands of the defense, spin away from two defensive backs, and sprint down the sideline for a 95-yard touchdown.
Whaley’s great catch and run made it 31-7 early in the fourth quarter, but Malvern had just built too big of a lead and played too well to let there be any doubt about the outcome of the game.
After struggling through a four game losing streak in September, the Friars came into the game riding the momentum of back-to-back wins over Penn Charter and Episcopal Academy. While their overall record is now even at 4-4, the Friars are undefeated in Inter-Ac play at 3-0.
Trending in the opposite direction, Haverford has now lost six in a row, sits at 1-7 overall, and remains winless in the Inter-Ac at 0-3.
The Fords will get another shot at their Inter-Ac win next week when they travel to Springside Chestnut Hill Academy.
Malvern looks to improve to 4-0 in Inter-Ac play on the road next week against Germantown Academy.