YEADON — The first half at Kerr Field began late Saturday morning and ended early Saturday afternoon. It must have seemed a lot longer to the Haverford School coaching staff than the 78 minutes it took to play.
The Fords went from a touchdown down to two TDs ahead to one point behind by the time the first two quarters had been played.
"Coach (Michael) Murphy gave us a pretty good talk at halftime,' Fords senior receiver and safety Michael Solomon said after his team had rallied for three touchdowns in the final two quarters while limiting Penn Wood to 31 yards total offense — one on the ground — in earning a 38-19 nonleague decision.
The win was the second in a row after three losses for Haverford School (2-3), while Penn Wood (1-4), which beat Archbishop Carroll last week, saw its one-game winning streak come to an end.
Solomon, a Media resident, hauled in a 56-yard scoring pass from Kevin Carter for the Fords' first six points. His 30-yard reception of a Derek Mountain pass set up the second of Mountain's two scoring runs in the third quarter.
"That play was supposed to go to the tight end,' Solomon said of his reception, which put Haverford School nine yards from the end zone about two minutes after Mountain's TD put the visitors ahead, 24-19.
"Derek lofted the ball and I just went over and got it. We had a lot of things go wrong in the first half. We lost one of our starters on the opening kickoff and I had to move to the corner on defense. We really needed to pick things up in the second half, and I'm glad we did."
Jabri Smith recovered a fumble on the Fords' third snap of the game, and Karon Lucas-Tillery raced 40 yards to give Penn Wood the lead on the next play.
Haverford School answered with Solomon's scoring catch, then went ahead on Carter's first scoring run in the last minute of the opening quarter. Jack Doran set the Fords up for six more points when he fell on a fumble at the Penn Wood 34, and four plays later Carter was in the end zone again.
Penn Wood took advantage of a penalty — one of 20 flags the Fords where whistled for for 156 yards — to get its second score on a 9-yard Lucas-Tillery run 3:40 before halftime. A Bruce Hunter fumble recovery helped the Patriots earn the lead with 12 seconds left in the quarter on Smith's 12-yard reception and Abraham Charles' conversion kick.
Mountain took over at quarterback in the second half and took his team to the Penn Wood 19 before the first drive stalled. He got another chance two plays later when Solomon claimed an interception and took the ball to the Patriots' 36. Four snaps later, the Fords reclaimed the lead.
"We've believed he was capable to handling our offense even though he hasn't had as much as one JV snap (at quarterback),' Murphy said of Mountain. "When it was his turn, he stepped right in. He's gotten some reps the last two years, and today he was ready.
"The one thing about this game we can take away as a positive was the way our defense played in the second half.'
Haverford School forced Penn Wood quarterbacks Fred Johnson and Naim Rainey into 4-for-20 passing for 30 yards in the last two quarters. Two of the completions came with less than two minutes to play.
"We've got to stop making mistakes,' Penn Wood coach Troy Brooks said, shaking his head over a dropped ball on what could have been an interception that ended with a Patriots touchdown as well as three lost fumbles and 85 yards in penalties.
"We've talked about selflessness and being mentally tough. We play Chester here next week, and that's our first league game. We've got to put this one behind us and get ready for our Del Val games.'