Gridiron Fords plan complete game

Chace Knox ’23 running after a catch in a 21-14 win over Landon, October 2, 2021 – Pierce Laveran ’24

The 2021 season presented its fair share of challenges, but this year’s varsity football team has shown tremendous resilience to overcome obstacles and stick together. Highlighted by a thrilling win over Penn Charter, the team had a magical season thus far, and is poised to make a statement against their rivals on November 13, 2021.

The Fords now prepare for the biggest showdown of the year, and with the ever-meaningful EA Day on the horizon, the Sixth Former Sam Gerber feels that the team is closer than ever.

“Our team has a really close bond, from the seniors all the way down to the freshmen,” Gerber said. “Between all grade levels there’s a real sense of connection and brotherhood on this team.”

Much of the credit for this bond can be attributed to the Sixth Form, which demonstrated exceptional leadership throughout the season.

“Everyone has their own leadership style,” Gerber said. “We’ve had guys that lead by example and always do the right thing, and then we have some more vocal leaders.”

Coach Brian Martin capitalized on his Sixth Formers’ capabilities by having them speak to the team every “Tackle Thursday.”

“We’ve been having seniors talk to our team the entire season,” Coach Martin said. “And a lot of them talk about being in the lower school and seeing EA Day, and always wanting to be a part of it.”

Ivan Harlamov ’23 kicks an extra point in a 21-14 win over Landon, October 2, 2021 – Pierce Laveran ’24

The tradition of EA Day was one of the casualties of last year’s restrictions, which only adds to the excitement of the coming matchup.

“It felt like last year, we didn’t necessarily get an EA Day football game, because fans were limited,” Gerber said. “This year it’ll definitely be really exciting to have an EA Day atmosphere and getting to play in that.”

Sixth Former Dave Kearney thinks that missing a year of the classic competition has only made the Fords hungrier to get the win.

“The victory would mean everything for the team,” Kearney said. “This is the game we’ve been looking forward to all year. It’s been marked on our calendars, and it’s a game we think we should win.”

Coach Martin knows better than anyone how determined the players are to win the game.

“They’re looking forward to it. They want to win, and they want to leave a legacy of beating EA,” Coach Martin said.

However, he also knows that the team needs to remain focused on their jobs amid the excitement of EA week.

“There are more distractions during the week. We’re trying to reel the guys in, and have them focus on the job at hand, while trying to enjoy it at the same time,” Coach Martin said.

The message resonated with the players, who are certainly focused on the task at hand. Sixth Former Jahmon Silver is aware of the challenge that EA presents.

“One thing about EA is that they don’t quit,” Silver said. “We’re really going to have to focus and key on what we do. Everybody has to watch film, everybody has to put in the repetitions. We have to be ready to execute our plays to the best of our ability and give them no chance to stop us.”

One factor that always plays a role in the rivalry is the location. This year, the Fords are at home, and Silver believes that the fans can play a role in the game.

“It’s definitely going to benefit us,” Silver said. “We’ll have all our guys there, our whole supporting cast, everybody there to keep our team up. In the crucial moments, where we have the crowd get loud, we’ll have the advantage.”

The support in the stands will also serve as a motivational reminder to the players about the people they play for.

“When we have all the Haverford kids and all the supporting parents and families, we know that we have something to fight for, and we have people to live up to,” Silver said.

“We really want to put it all together on EA Day. That sounds like a pretty good day to do it.”

David Kearney ’22

If one thing is certain, it is that the players will do whatever it takes to win. As far as the game itself goes, they know that consistency will be key.

“We haven’t played a full four quarters of football yet this year,” Gerber said. “Some games we’ve played a really good first half and not a good second half, and vice versa.”

If the team can put together a complete game, their dream of winning the rivalry game will become a reality.

“We really want to come out firing and put together a full game,” Kearney said. “We haven’t done the best at that this year, but we really want to put it all together on EA Day. That sounds like a pretty good day to do it.”