Fer­nan­dez leads Malvern Prep

Fri­ars deal Haver­ford first In­ter-Ac loss since 2013

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - SPORTS - By Matt Smith matt­smith@21st-cen­tu­ry­media.com @DTMat­tSmith on Twit­ter

Zac Fer­nan­dez was run­ning a lit­tle be­hind Satur­day.

“I had to take the ACTs this morn­ing,” said Fer­nan­dez, Malvern Prep’s dy­namic se­nior run­ning back. “As soon as I was done, I rushed over to Malvern and just made the team bus.” Close call. “It was a lit­tle hec­tic,” Fer­nan­dez said.

Fer­nan­dez and the Fri­ars passed their test at Haver­ford School. Fer­nan­dez did a lit­tle bit of ev­ery­thing — he ran, caught, passed and punted the ball — to lead Malvern to a 24-21 vic­tory.

The loss was the first for Haver­ford School in In­ter-Ac League com­pe­ti­tion since Oct. 19, 2013.

Fer­nan­dez ac­counted for 164 yards of to­tal of­fense and pinned the Fords back at their own 1-yard line with 55-and 39-yard punts in the sec­ond half.

“There’s a spe­cial ri­valry be­tween us and Haver­ford,” said Fer­nan­dez, a Wayne res­i­dent who is gar­ner­ing in­ter­est from sev-

“I had to take the ACTs this morn­ing. As soon as I was done, I rushed over to Malvern and just made the team bus. It was a lit­tle hec­tic.” – Malvern Prep’s Zac Fer­nan­dez

eral Ivy League pro­grams. “We’re al­ways very com­pet­i­tive each year and it means so much to get this win, es­pe­cially on their field. It makes this win a whole lot bet­ter.”

Chal­leng­ing the three­time de­fend­ing In­ter-Ac champs, the Fri­ars (4-3 over­all, 1-1 league) grabbed the lead for good in the fourth quar­ter when Keith Maguire scored on a four­yard run. Later in the pe­riod, Maguire hauled in a 37-yard catch on thir­dand-21 which en­abled Bran­don Chi­azza to kick a 26yard field goal to put Malvern ahead by 10 points with 1 minute, 28 sec­onds to play.

“Coming off a loss last week, this was a big win for us,” said Maguire, a sopho­more. The Fri­ars bounced back from a heart­break­ing de­feat to Epis­co­pal Acad­emy, 37-34.

“We felt that, by the fourth quar­ter (last week), we were play­ing some of the best foot­ball we had played all year,” said Fer­nan­dez, who had 97 yards rush­ing on 20 car­ries. “We re­ally wanted to carry that mo­men­tum into the week of prac­tice and into this game. I felt like we did a re­ally good job of be­ing phys­i­cal, ex­e­cut­ing and mak­ing plays hap­pen.”

Malvern pre­sented all sorts of matchup prob­lems for the Fords (5-2, 1-1) in the sec­ondary. Malvern’s re­ceivers had 18 catches for 208 yards. Start­ing quar­ter­back Drew Gun­ther, who was thrown into ac­tion in the sec­ond half in the Epis­co­pal Acad­emy game, was 15 of 26 for 134 yards. Quinn McCa­hon com­pleted two passes out of the wild­cat for­ma­tion and Fer­nan­dez had a 14-yard half­back pass.

“Watch­ing film, we knew they are a re­ally good de­fense. We have to give them credit,” Fer­nan­dez said. “Coach (Aaron) Brady made a great game plan and we re­lied a lot on our skill play­ers to make plays when it counted. We did and it was awe­some.”

De­spite the set­back, Haver­ford School coach Mike Mur­phy was proud of his squad’s ef­fort on de­fense. The Fords, led by line­men Frank Zepka and Asim Richards, of­ten caused havoc be­hind the line of scrim­mage. The Fords’ down­fall was the big play.

“I ac­tu­ally think our de­fense did a great job to­day,” Mur­phy said. “That kid (Fer­nan­dez) is go­ing to get what he’s go­ing to get in a game. I think we did what we talked about, which is not let­ting him es­cape for easy ones. I feel like he worked for ev­ery­thing he got to­day as he al­ways does ev­ery week. He’s good, but I thought de­fen­sively, in that as­pect, we did well. We just had too many blown as­sign­ments in the sec­ondary. To­day it caught up big time, Malvern made some big plays.”

Tommy Toal led the Fords on a scor­ing drive with less than a minute to go. Toal found Is­mail Mor­ri­son in the end zone from five yards out to cut the deficit to three points. Malvern spoiled any chance at a Fords come­back by re­cov­er­ing the on­side kick.

In the third quar­ter, Toal engi­neered a 15-play, 99yard drive that re­sulted in the sec­ond of two Mal­lik Twyman scor­ing runs.

Toal was 9 of 18 for 103 yards and a touch­down. Twyman churned out 114 yards and two TDs on 19 car­ries.

“We’re not ex­e­cut­ing well. That’s the bot­tom line,” Mur­phy said. “I say each week that I love the fight of this team, but we’re not ex­e­cut­ing at times well enough to win. We’re miss­ing an as­sign­ment here, a block there. It’s been a re­cur­ring thing that we’re work­ing on that we’re not just get­ting done.”


Malvern Prep’s Zac Fer­nan­dez is stopped af­ter pick­ing up yardage against the Haver­ford School on Satur­day.


Mal­lik Twyman of the Haver­ford School scores on an 11-yard run against Malvern on Satur­day.

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