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Football: Inter-Ac Pick-6 – A Great Fill-in at SCH, Haverford School and Malvern Prep Run to Victory and More

By Marc Narducci. Photos: James Quinn, Kathy Leister & Lennie Malmgren, 10/19/23, 9:45AM EDT


Photos/Videos: James Quinn, Kathy Leister & Lennie Malmgren

By: Marc Narducci

The Inter-AC football league schedule began last week, the start of a five-week test of talent, character and endurance.

This is not a league for the meek of heart. On an opening weekend where an umbrella was a necessary tool for the fans, the players competed in less-than-ideal weather conditions.

As expected, there were many fine individual and team performances.

So sit back and enjoy our opening Inter-Ac Pick Six of the season.

Pick One: A more than suitable replacement at RB for Springside Chestnut Hill Academy

Springside Chestnut Academy has one of the best running backs in the Inter-Ac in senior Jayden Sumpter. An ankle injury sidelined Sumpter last week but in typical next-man-up fashion, junior Finn Whittle was a more than suitable replacement.

SCHA junior Finn Whittle #3 scored four touchdowns in opening league victory vs. Penn Charter - PSD Photo by James Quinn

The 5-11, 175-pound Whittle, who is also a starting cornerback, rushed for 218 yards and four touchdowns on 26 carries in a 34-15 victory against Penn Charter.

Not a bad fill-in.

“It feels good to step up and fill a role that needed to be filled,” Whittle said. “If somebody goes down, it is the next man up.”

Of course, Whittle explained that there was plenty of credit to go around, namely with the players up front.

“A big part of it was the line as well,” he said. “Without them I would not be able to do anything.”

From right to left, here were those teammates who paved the way for Whittle. At RT was Mitch Karp (6-6, 285), RG Matt McTamney (6-1, 245), C Aidan McCann (6-2, 270), LG Kyle Knox (6-1, 245), LT Grayson Scott (6-4, 280) and TE Danny Reagan (6-1, 210).

What made Whittle’s performance that much more impressive is that Whittle himself was coming off an injury.

“My ankle was messed up and I played through that,” he said. “In the moment you don’t feel it because the adrenaline is going, and you are just focused on the game.”

The Blue Devils also received some key defensive plays, including interceptions by Sean Brett and Aaron Clark. This season Clark has become a master thief. He already has five interceptions.

Tyler Roberts had 10 tackles, Harry Kull contributed seven and Reagan added seven tackles and two sacks. There were plenty of contributors to this first Inter-Ac win.

SCH is now 6-0, 1-0. This opening league win was especially satisfying since the Blue Devils, with a young team a year ago, didn’t win an Inter-Ac game.

“We have had some tough years lately and I knew we would be better, but getting the monkey off our back with this win was a truly good feeling,” said SCH coach Rick Knox.

Up next: home vs. Germantown Academy, 1 p.m. Saturday

Pick 2 – Brosko carries the load for defending champion Haverford School

Haverford School likes to travel by the run and on a rainy miserable day, the game plan was simplified – give the ball frequently to senior Matt Brosko.

Haverford School senior Matt Brosko #6 - PSD Photo by Kathy Leister

Not a bad plan

At 5-8 and 180, Brosko isn’t the biggest back, but he would make anybody’s All-Tough Team.

This is a Haverford School team that was hit hard by graduation, but Brosko, an all-league performer, is one of the key players back. And in the league opener, the Fords rode him early and often en route to a 17-7 victory over Germantown Academy.

Brosko finished with 221 yards and three touchdowns on 38 carries.

“We knew we were going to have rain on Saturday, so that limited our game plan,” Brosko said. “Our linemen had a great push up front, and our defense played great the whole time.”

The cold and wet weather actually was seen as a positive by Brosko.

“The weather pretty much kept my mind off of being tired,” he said.

Haverford School also received a big game from sophomore Jaidyn Rivera, who rushed for 104 yards and a 39-yard touchdown on just five carries.

Junior Griff Meyer rushed for 31 yards and a TD on six carries.

With such a proficient running game, the Fords attempted only three passes.

The Fords are now 3-3 after an up-and-down non-conference schedule.

Haverford School vs. Germantown Academy - Highlights by Kathy Leister

“We felt like this was a fresh start,” said Brosko, who has rushed for 646 yards and is averaging 5.4 yards per carry. “It was a good way to begin the Inter-Ac season.”

Up next: Saturday at home vs. Malvern Prep, 1 p.m.

Pick 3: Germantown Academy’s Towsen makes big catches in all type of weather

It was a tough opening for the Germantown Academy with a 45-7 loss to defending Inter-Ac champion Haverford School

Sophomore quarterback Xavier Stearn threw for 157 yards and junior WR AJ Towsen had eight receptions for 116 yards and a 22-yard touchdown.

The Pats had gone 5-0 in the non-conference portion of the schedule.

On a rainy day it was difficult to stop the rugged ground game of Haverford School.

“Our kids played hard but credit Haverford School,” Germantown Academy coach Matt Dence said. “When they get the ball rolling, they are hard to stop.”

Even in a weather conditions that weren’t conducive to the passing game, Towsen had yet another big offensive day.

In six games he has 44 receptions for 647 yards and nine touchdowns.

“AJ is one of the best players in the area,” Dence said. “We have had some really great receivers, and he compares with any of them. He makes unbelievable plays every week.”

Up next: Saturday at Springside Chestnut Hill Academy, 1 p.m.

Pick 4: Malvern Prep’s Bauer with the finishing touch

Malvern Prep junior fullback-linebacker Jake Bauer (6-1, 220) doesn’t carry the ball much, but when it’s near the goal line, his number is called more.

That was the case in the Friars 35-21 win over Episcopal Academy. Bauer carried the ball four times and ended up with two TDs on runs of 2 and 5 yards.

Andrew Pellicciotta does all the work and then I get to score the touchdowns,” Bauer said laughing.

Pellicciotta is a fellow junior who rushed for 106 yards on 13 carries.

Of course, Bauer performs double duty for the Friars and his interception set up the Friars second touchdown, which was scored by him.

That set the tone, extending Malvern Prep’s lead to 14-0.

Malvern Prep junior fullback-linebacker Jake Bauer #29 - PSD Photo by Lennie Malmgren

Even though it was raining, Bauer had no trouble making the interception, which was tipped by teammate Zade Johnson.

“It was easier to catch off the tip,” Bauer said.

Malvern Prep lost QB junior Skyler Smith to injury early in the game. He was replaced by sophomore Jackson Melconian. In addition, Pellicciotta lined up as a wildcat QB.

The Friars didn’t attempt a pass but gained 326 yards on the ground on 48 carries. Sophomore Zeke Bates gained 86 yards on 13 carries and scored on TD runs of 7, 15 and 2 yards.

Wake Forest commit Jack Ploszay was successful on all five PATs.

Winning in the trenches is always the key.

“I think both of our lines offensively and defensively played a really good physical game,” Malvern Prep coach Dave Guerrero said.

Pellicciotti at safety led the defensive effort with eight tackles, including seven solos and Bauer contributed six tackles along with the INT. DE Ennis Udo added a sack in an impressive opening Inter-Ac performance for the Friars, now 5-1 overall.

Malvern Prep vs. Episcopal Academy - PSD Highlights by Lennie Malmgren

It was a good start for Malvern Prep, which went 3-2 last year in the Inter-Ac, with the two losses coming by a total of nine points.

“We’re excited” Bauer said. “We are confident in our team offensively and defensively.”

Up next: Saturday 1 p.m. at Haverford School

Pick 5: Competitive opener for Penn Charter

Penn Charter was down just 20-15 at the half in its Inter-Ac opener against visiting Springside Chestnut Hill Academy, but the Quakers couldn’t keep the momentum in a 34-15 loss.

A couple of key mistakes hurt the Quakers, who are among the youngest teams in the league.

There was a touchdown called back on a block in the back penalty and an end zone interception that halted another drive.

“The kids’ effort was surely there but we shot ourselves in the foot with some mistakes,” Penn Charter coach Tom Coyle said.

Penn Charter sophomore QB Tom McGlinchey #8 - PSD Photo by James Quinn

Sophomore QB Tom McGlinchey had some good moments, especially considering the weather wasn’t an aid to throwing the ball. He completed 10 of 21 for 109 yards and a touchdown along with two interceptions.

This is also a team that has freshmen starting on both sides of the ball so there might be some growing pains for the Quakers.

Penn Charter (3-2) was coming off a physical 13-7 non-league loss to Lawrenceville.

Against SCH, the Quakers got a big game from senior running back Ohifame Ijeboi, the Minnesota commit, who rushed for 130 yards and a touchdown on 27 carries.

“Ohifame ran the ball well,” Coyle said. “They made adjustments in the second half, and we had a more difficult time getting him in space.”

Senior lacrosse standout Gavin Michener caught a 15-yard scoring pass from McGlinchy and Ryder Stearn connected on a 23-yard field goal.

In addition to Ijeboi, senior Zach Curtain rushed for 59 yards on 11 carries and Michener had three receptions for 29 yards and the TD.

Curtain led the D with eight tackles and junior Hugh Maley added five.

Up next: Friday at Episcopal Academy, 7 p.m.

Pick 6: QB returns for Episcopal Academy

Even though Episcopal Academy lost its Inter-Ac opener, 35-21 at Malvern Prep, there was some positive news in the return of QB Na’Rome Rayborn. The 6-1, 175-pound Rayborn was hurt in the second game of the season. He returned against Malvern Prep and completed 15 of 26 for 155 yards, one touchdown and one interception. He also rushed for 39 yards and a TD on 14 carries.

“He was an All-Inter-Ac player last year and it was good to have him back,” EA coach Todd Fairlie said.

Fairlie said there were positives in defeat.

“They are really good defensively and we had three pretty good drives,” he said.  “Our offensive line played really well and given the challenges we averaged 4.5 yards per carry against a stout defense.”

Those TD drives were of 99, 78 and 65 yards.

That offensive line consisted of LT AJ Koukou; LG Ian Ferrell; C Conor Gaul; RG Dorian Dabney and RT Calvin Szoradi . Another player, Angelo Coia also rotated on the line and TE Ted Barrett enjoyed a strong blocking game according to Fairlie.

Zeke Kane added 66 yards rushing on just nine carries. Michael Cadden had six receptions for 83 yards and a score.

A key was after the Churchmen scored to make it 14-7 late in the second quarter, Malvern scored right away to extend the lead to 21-7 at halftime. On this day, it was too big of a deficit to overcome.

Episcopal Academy senior QB Na’Rome Rayborn - PSD Photo by Lennie Malmgren

Episcopal Academy finished second last year in the Inter-Ac, but suffered key losses to graduation, so this is a team that should continue to grow as some younger players gain experience.

Up next: Friday at home vs. Penn Charter, 7 p.m.


Special thanks to Ed “Huck” Palmer for Penn Charter and Malvern Prep stats, to Dan Moyer for Haverford School, Mike McNulty for Episcopal Academy and coaches Rick Knox and Matt Dence for SCH and Germantown Academy stats.