msmith@@delcotimes.com, @DTMattSmithHAVERFORD — Mike Murphy used words like "worst' and "ever' to describe what he witnessed Saturday afternoon at Sabol Field.
In his post-game chat with players, the distraught head coach of The Haverford School expressed his dismay and vowed that his team must get better. That is putting it lightly.
Is it time to start from scratch, after a 42-0 drubbing at the hands of McDonogh (Md.) School?
"Yes, it absolutely looks that way,' he said. "I'm not trying to be a wise (cracker), I'm telling you the truth. We played a terrible football game against a good team.'
And it's unacceptable to Murphy. A program 126 years old, there's a winning tradition to uphold. So far, not so good
In two games, Haverford School has looked inept, overmatched and defeated. There's plenty of time to recover, with the start of Inter-Ac League play roughly a month into the future, but there has to be cause for concern.
"To be honest, I'm tired of hearing about ... that it's early, because it's not an excuse for the way we've been playing,' Murphy said. "I don't want to be 0-6 when we start Inter-Ac play. These are games — real games. I want to win now.'
Not only were the Fords (0-2) anemic offensively and exposed defensively, they were whistled for one too many infractions. Offsides, false starts and even an unsportsmanlike conduct call contributed to their unraveling.
Haverford's lone playmaker this season, or so it seems, is running back Phil Poquie, who was coming off an explosive, 100-yard game on the ground last week in a two-touchdown loss to West Catholic. Poquie can be a huge factor every time he touches the ball, but that excitement was nowhere to be found Saturday. Poquie was a non-factor against a large and in charge McDonogh defensive line. The visiting linemen were built like oxen and hit like them, too. In the first half, McDonogh outgained the Fords, 179-24. By the time the running second-half clock struck four zeros, the final yardage total was 256-35. Haverford gained zero yards on the ground, while Poquie finished with five yards on five carries.
Running back Syl Brown racked up 104 yards on 10 carries, including scoring runs of 17, 27 and 15. Brown wasn't particularly speedy, but was seemingly impossible to bring down. Haverford struggled mightily with its open-field tackling, and was pushed around by a bigger and stronger McDonogh offensive line.
"We're better than this,' lineman Joe Reynolds said.
Eric Burrell caught a 25-yard pass from Jansen Durham to give McDonogh its first of six touchdowns. Twenty seconds later, Brendan Burke attempted a quarterback sneak, but lost the ball. Gang-tackling ensued, and nobody seemed to realize Burke didn't have the ball, except for McDonogh linebacker Connor Young, who picked up the loose pigskin and darted 36 yards the other way while everyone else was piling on each other.
Later, when Burke aired an incomplete pass out of bounds, Haverford School's public-address announcer said, "Pass is complete to the McDonogh coach.'
Yeah, it was that kind of day for the Fords.
Brown accounted for the last of his team's three touchdowns. By halftime, the Fords were staring a 35-0 deficit. Murphy used three signal callers Saturday, allowing understudies Kevin Carter and Max Spencer to get playing time. Neither, however, fared any better than Burke, who was 4-for-9 for 35 yards.
"Tell you what,' Murphy said, "if we keep playing like this, we're not going to win a game in the Inter-Ac.'