Sanders outduels old friends as Ryan tops Chester
PHILADELPHIA » The post-game talk revolved around team discipline and individual drive. Those were the mental bullet points upon which Chester coach Ladontay Bell kept focusing.
Discipline, or a lack thereof, elicited 12 penalties against Chester. Drive, similarly absent, kept the Clippers from nudging any closer in the latter minutes of Saturday’s 45-30 loss to Archbishop Ryan.
Chester (1-3) spotted Archbishop Ryan (4-0) a three-touchdown lead in the first half before it finally revved up its offense. By then, the Clippers had committed to playing a game of catch-up they had no chance at winning.
“I tell my guys to run their bills up,” Bell said. “You know, like an electric bill? Don’t turn your lights off in the middle of the game. Stay on fire. Stay on. We didn’t do that today. It’s concentration, mental toughness, and discipline to stay focused when you’re tired. We didn’t do any of that, either.”
Archbishop Ryan quarterback Jahlil Sanders orchestrated five drives in the first half that ended in the end zone, including three rushing touchdowns by Julian Jones.
Sanders, a senior, earned personal satisfaction in leading the Raiders past Chester. In his younger days, Sanders grew up in the Toby Farms section of Chester Township. He lived in the same neighborhood as Chester High juniors Malik and Malachi Langley.
“I used to live down there with my mom, so I’ve known Malik and Malachi for a while,” said Sanders, who went 10-for-21 for 178 yards and two touchdowns. “We were talking a lot throughout the game. They were asking me when I’m coming back around (to visit).
“Every Thanksgiving, I go down there and ball at the Chester A fields. It’s good to play Chester.”
Sanders’ boyhood buddies, the Langley twins, combined for three second-quarter scores to keep the game competitive. Malik rushed for six- and 19-yard touchdowns, bookending an impressive 43yard scoring connection between Malachi and Chester quarterback Tahree Fuller-Bryan.
The big play for the Clippers came on the heels of an Archbishop Ryan touchdown, a 25yard pass from Sanders to Justin Collier. It was “us punching them back,” Malik said of his brother’s score. “We just have to come out and hit teams in the mouth early, and right now, we’re not and that’s why we’re losing.”
“I was banking on making a play to bring my team back,” Malachi Langley said. “When Coach called my number, our quarterback threw me a great ball. It got it done.”
Chester squandered possessions right before and right after the intermission, leaving Ryan’s 35-22 halftime lead intact. From there, the Raiders did what they could to nurse the clock and limit Chester’s chances to draw closer.
The Clippers have one more nonleague tune-up next weekend at The Haverford School before launching into Del Val League play against defending champion Penn Wood.
Will that afford them enough time to get on track?
“I think so,” Bell said. “It’s about discipline, and we’re doing what we can with the kids.”
Added Malachi Langley: “I expect a win next week and every week. It’s time.”