skip navigation

FOOTBALL: Inter-Ac Pick-6 - A Dual-threat QB who Returned Strong from Injury, a Multi-positional Player at Malvern Prep and Another Heavy Load Carried by a SCH Running Back

By Marc Narducci. Photos: James Quinn, Benji Rawson & Lennie Malmgren, 10/26/23, 3:30PM EDT


Photos/Videos: Lennie Malmgren, Benji Rawson & James Quinn

By: Marc Narducci

Week Two of the Inter-Ac schedule featured some big running efforts and some outstanding defensive play. In the case of Malvern Prep, both of those situations occurred.

The week also showcased one of the area’s top quarterbacks, who it’s hard to tell what he’s better doing – passing or running.

Week No. 2 of the league schedule is in the books and here is a look back at some outstanding performances in our weekly Pick-6.

Pick-1: Wow, what an effort from Episcopal Academy’s dual-threat QB

Episcopal Academy senior Na’Rome Rayborn is a headache for any opposing defensive coordinator, but it’s difficult to make an impact from the sidelines.

While teams have found it difficult to stop the 6-foot-1, 191-pound senior, something beyond his control finally did – an ankle injury in the second game of the season against Roman Catholic.

Rayborn missed the next three non-league games and returned for the Inter-Ac opener, a 35-21 loss at Malvern Prep.

He admits there was some rust in his game upon his return, but Rayborn still played admirably against a defense that is used to swallowing quarterbacks.

This past week, there wasn’t much rust to see. Rayborn completed 10 of 13 passes for 129 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for 119 yards and two scores on 13 carries in a 31-7 win over Penn Charter.

Episcopal Academy senior QB Na’Rome Rayborn #6 - PSD Photo by Lennie Malmgren

“Our first Inter-Ac game back my ankle was still hurting me and even a few days ago before the second game it was but I wanted to make sure we got that win and I took it upon myself,” Rayborn said. “A lot of credit goes to the offensive line, they gave me the opportunity to make plays.”

Rayborn scored on runs of 10 and 24 yards and hit Zeke Kane on TD passes of 30 and 13 yards. (The Churchmen also received a 32-yard field goal from Spencer Schuh.

Rayborn admits that sitting out the three full games was frustrating, but he tried to make the best of a difficult situation.

“It was pretty upsetting for me because I am a competitive person and being on the sidelines was tough during that time,” he said. “I embrace that time as my role as a leader.”

He understood that sulking would help nobody, so he became a sort of coach on the sidelines, doing what he could to help his team.

“I saw the effects of having good leaders on and off the field,” he said. “It was definitely difficult and taught me a lot about myself and fortunately our backup quarterback (Brody Garrison) played well and I am proud of him and what he was able to accomplish.”

Episcopal Academy vs. Penn Charter - PSD Highlights by Lennie Malmgren

Rayborn not only played QB, but he also saw time at corner against Penn Charter. He is also on the kickoff return team.

An accomplished student, he said that Ivy League schools Penn, Brown and Cornell have made offers. Right now, his focus is solely on the season.

While Rayborn is gratified to be back, he is justifiably proud of his versatility.

“I always take pride in being a dual threat quarterback,” he said. “If a team wants to game plan for me, they might try to take one thing away from me.”

Left unsaid is that taking both the pass and run away from Rayborn can be a thankless task.

There were other standouts for the Churchmen, especially on D. Coach Todd Fairlie said that Chris Purnell, who moved from corner to strong safety, and LB Eric Demyun, while DL Raheem Orr had 2.5 sacks.

Up next: Saturday at Germantown Academy, 1 p.m.

Pick 2 Haverford School Looking to Regroup

When Haverford School dropped a 24-6 decision to Malvern Prep, it snapped a six-game Inter-Ac win streak, including all five victories from last year when the Fords emerged as league champion.

The last Inter-Ac loss was Nov. 6, 2021, a 19-12 defeat at Germantown Academy.

What hurt the Fords against Malvern Prep was four turnovers. Malvern Prep was able to get 10 points off those turnovers.

“I told our guys I didn’t see any quit in them and they kept battling to the end,” Haverford School coach Brian Martin said. “Also hats off to Malvern, they played a great game.”

A player who stood out for the Fords was linebacker Kellen Gardner.

Quarterback Connor Scanlan completed 13 of 17 for 126 yards and a 10-yard touchdown pass to sophomore Jaidyn Rivera.

As all teams do, it’s now on to the next game.

Haverford School will visit 2-0 Springside Chestnut Hill Academy in a Saturday night game.

It’s always a big deal to play at night, but Martin says that won’t provide any more incentive.

“We have enough motivation,” he said. “We are playing a very good team, that’s enough for us.”

Up next: Saturday at Springside Chestnut Hill Academy, 6 p.m.

Pick 3 An encore performance for SCH’s Finn Whittle

Springside Chestnut Hill running back-corner back Finn Whittle has proved to be much more than a solid stand-in. Last week, we reported how the 5-11, 175-pound junior was a more than suitable replacement for teammate Jayden Sumpter, among the best running backs in the Inter-Ac who has been nursing an ankle injury.

Sumpter was sidelined again last week, and Whittle, dealing with his own ankle issues, again got the call – time and time again.

Whittle carried the ball 35 times for 219 yards and two scores as SCH improved to 2-0 with a 28-0 home win over Germantown Academy. He also played corner.

Needless to say, Whittle was pretty bushed afterwards.

“I was really tired, but happy with the way I ran,” he said. “I was happy that coach (Rick Knox) kept feeding me the ball.”

SCHA junior Finn Whittle #3 scored two touchdowns in 28-0 win vs. Germantown Academy - PSD Photo by James Quinn

Knox says that Sumpter could possibly return this week. That would be fine with Whittle.

“I am a little beat up now,” he said.

Whittle is excited to be playing under the lights this week as SCH has rented lights for the game against Haverford School. It’s the first night game at SCH since 2019.

“It should really be a cool environment,” he said.

That is appropriate because there were many SCH players who were lights-out against Germantown Academy.

“We played one of our better all-around games in a while in the Inter-Ac,” Knox said.

SCH received two interceptions from sophomore Joe Flach. He was replacing fellow sophomore Aaron Clark, who was sidelined and leads the team with five interceptions.

The line paved the way for close to 350 rushing yards, Knox said.

Whittle scored on TD runs of eight and four yards. Senior Tyler Roberts added to the run game by rushing for 71 yards and a TD on 10 carries. A versatile player, he was also utilized in the Wildcat formation.

The fourth TD was scored on a QB sneak by Tommy Markey.

Up next: Saturday vs. Haverford School, 6 p.m.

Pick 4 – A long run for Penn Charter

Penn Charter was down 31-0 to Episcopal Academy, but still fighting and it paid off when junior Eian Kilpatrick scored on an 82-yard run in the fourth quarter. The score would end 31-7.

The interesting part of the run is that it came on a 4th-and-2 play in the fourth quarter.

Coach Tom Coyle showed faith in his team and by this decision. Despite the score, he wanted the team to continue competing, which they surely did.

“We had nothing to lose, and he hit the seam,” Coyle said of Kilpatrick.

Earlier in the game, Kilpatrick had another big play when he hauled in a 25-yard reception. He ended the game with a season-high 92 yards rushing on five carries.

Minnesota commit Ohifame Ijeboi rushed for 42 yards. This season he has rushed for 554 yards (5.7 avg.) and six touchdowns.

Leading the defense against Episcopal Academy was junior LB Hugh Maley, who had 13 tackles.

One thing that Coyle would like to see from his young team is some big plays on D. In the first two Inter-Ac games, the Quakers didn’t create a turnover on defense.

Coyle understands patience will be needed for such a young team. 

Eian Kilpatrick's 82-yard touchdown run - PSD Video by Lennie Malmgren

Penn Charter senior Ohifame Ijeboi #6 has rushed for 554 yards (5.7 avg.) and six touchdowns this season - PSD Photo by Lennie Malmgren

For instance, there is only one senior on the OL, Charles English. On the defensive line, the seniors seeing time are Tommy Cordero and Matt Martz.

“I am not the most patient person, but I have to have patience,” Coyle said.

Up next: Saturday vs. Malvern Prep, 2 p.m.

Pick-5: Tough bounce for Germantown Academy

Sometimes the slightest event can change the course of a game. That certainly occurred Saturday for Germantown Academy.

The Patriots were trailing 7-0 late in the first half at Springside Chestnut Hill Academy and that appeared how it would be at be at the half.


SCH, with no timeouts, completed a tipped pass to the GA 1-yard line. With three seconds left, SCH scored on a QB sneak and took a 14-0 halftime lead.

That changed everything.

“We had a chance to intercept it, but instead it ended up 14-0 at the half,” GA coach Matt Dence said.

Then during the second half, the SCH defense continued its stingy ways in a 28-0 win.

Little things like the tipped pass that when the wrong way (from a GA perspective) can change the complexion of a game. This certainly helped do that.

There is always something positive that a coach can take away from a game and in this instance it was catching machine AJ Towsen.

“He made two or three of the best catches I have ever seen him make,” Dence said.

He’ll likely see more and probably on a weekly basis.

Up next: Saturday vs. Episcopal Academy, 1 p.m.

Pick 6: Malvern Prep earns some long awaited revenge

One of the key rivalries in any Inter-Ac sport is when Malvern Prep takes on Haverford School. Malvern Prep junior two-way back Andrew Pellicciotta and his teammates had even more incentive in their game over the weekend.

Last year Haverford School, enroute to winning the league title, earned a 6-0 win over Malvern Prep. This time the Friars enacted revenge with a 24-6 victory on Saturday at Haverford.

“It felt so good to win, especially after what happened last year,” said Pellicciotta, who rushed for 70 yards and two touchdowns on 11 carries in the win. “We wanted to win for the seniors because they don’t have another shot at it.”

Malvern Prep junior Andrew Pellicciotta #15 - PSD Photo by Benji Rawson

It’s not easy to tackle the 5-11, 190-pound Pellicciotta, and even more difficult to keep track of all his duties.

Besides being a running back, he is a free safety, a punt returner, a slot receiver and at times a wildcat quarterback.

This season he has rushed for 409 yards, averaging a robust 9.1 yards per carry and three touchdowns. He has scored another three TDs on 17 receptions. Pellicciotta has 198 receiving yards.  

Andrew Pellicciotta #15 scores for Malvern Prep - PSD Video by Benji Rawson

Malvern Prep junior RB/MLB Jake Bauer #29 scores for the Friars - PSD Video by Benji Rawson

Even by Malvern Prep standards, the Friars took it up a notch playing on defense against Haverford. Linebacker Jake Bauer led the way with 10 tackles, including two for loss. Junior LB Owen Mears added eight tackles, one sack and a fumble recovery, while Pellicciotta contributed seven tackles.

“I thought our defense came out with an aggression unlike anything I have ever seen,” Pellicciotta said. “It felt like we really played with an edge.

Up next: Saturday at Penn Charter, 2 p.m.

Inter-Ac Standings

Springside Chestnut Hill Academy 2-0, 7-0

Malvern Prep 2-0, 6-1

Haverford School 1-1, 3-4

Episcopal Academy 1-1, 3-4

Germantown Academy 0-2, 4-2

Penn Charter 0-2, 3-3

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.