Haverford overpowers Unionville, 42-27

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By Al Tustin, Sports Editor, The Times

F. Scott Fitzgerald famously said “there are no second acts in American lives.”

Haverford QB Jake Ruane breaks to the right en route to an 85-yard TD run, Friday night.

For the Unionville High School football team, struggling through one of its roughest seasons in recent memory, the problem was that there was no encore to a very solid first half against powerful Haverford, Friday.

After the Indians drew the 5-1 Fords to a 13-13 draw in the first half, the 6A powerhouse used its speed and explosiveness to power its way to a 42-27 win on a non-league contest.

It wasn’t for lack of effort by Unionville (2-4, 2-0), but rather a handful of mistakes combined with a big-play Haverford offense — particularly in one brief third quarter sequence — that ultimately proved to be decisive.

“They’re a big play team, they have some really good kids and we weren’t able to overcome their big plays tonight,” Unionville Head Coach Pat Clark said. “I thought our kids played with tremendous effort tonight against a quality opponent, but a few mistakes will get you.”

Unionville QB Blake Charlton fires the ball downfield.

For the Indians, three games — starting with next Friday night’s Homecoming matchup with arch-rival Kennett, followed by West Chester Rustin a week later and then Sun Valley in the regular season finale — will define the season. Sweep them all and Unionville becomes a four-time Ches Mont American Division champion and gets redemption, not to mention a solid berth into the District One, 5A playoffs. Lose, the odds of a league title and maybe a postseason slot begin to drop precipitously.

Clark said his team needs to focus acutely on Kennett, looming next week. The Blue Devils, just a handful of miles down Route 82, have not beaten Unionville since restarting their football program in 2005 — and with a couple of wins under their belt, they will be a dangerous adversary.

“Those guys down the road are going to be gunning for us 100 percent,” Clark said. “They’re going to look at us and say ‘we have the same, identical records’ and they’re going to be out for blood next week.”

Despite the final outcome, Friday night again showed an improving Unionville offense — especially with the run game — and a defense able to defend the run, for the most part.

in the early minutes — a somewhat flustered Fords team made it to Unionville a bit late after a bus breakdown en route — the Indians looked for all the world like giant slayers.

Junior QB Blake Charlton led an impressive opening drive — which took six minutes — completing four passes and running for a key first down, leading to a 3-yard Connor Schilling TD run. After Dominic Braithwaite’s extra point attempt was blocked, the Indians had a 6-0 lead.

The Fords struck back before the end of the first quarter when senior QB Jake Ruane broke contain on the right side and raced 82 yards for a TD. After the extra point was blocked, the game was knotted at 6-6.

The Indians immediately struck back, scoring on a 74-yard TD pass from Charlton to Jeffrey Lang. With Braithwaite’s extra point, Unionville had a 13-6 lead.

Haverford was able to tied the game late in the first half, after a long drive, with Ruane scoring on a run from the 2. With the extra point, the game was tied 13-13 at the half.

It was a few minutes into the third quarter when the decisive sequence doomed Unionville. First, Ruane hit Trey Blair deep over the middle, who then raced for an 85-yard TD. With the extra point, Haverford led, 20-13. After the kickoff, on the Indians’ first play from scrimmage, Charlton was picked off by Shane Mosely, who raced 34 yards for a TD. With a two-point conversion, the Fords suddenly had a commanding 28-13 lead.

Early in the final quarter, Unionville fought back, scoring on a 13-yard run by Nick Schnaars to cut the deficit to 28-20. But Haverford, set up by a strong kickoff return, drove a quick 33-yards, capped by a Ruane run, to grab a 35-20 lead. Minutes later, after a Unionville punt and an unsportsman like penalty gave it the ball on the Unionville 33, Haverford scored again, this time with Chasen Witt powering the ball in from 15 yards out, to make it 42-20.

The Indians didn’t quit, though. Charlton connected with senior running back Joe Fariello for a 43-yard TD pass to cut the margin to 42-27, which proved to be the final.

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