Haverford School grabs share of title

Haverford School's Philip Poquie is caught from above and below by Episcopal Academy defenders at the end of a 13-yard run. CURT HUDSON / For The Inquirer
Haverford School's Philip Poquie is caught from above and below by Episcopal Academy defenders at the end of a 13-yard run. CURT HUDSON / For The Inquirer
Posted: November 11, 2013

Mike Murphy gathered his football team in the Haverford School gym Friday night and pointed toward the wall where the Inter-Ac League championship banners hang.

The coach said that if the Fords added one for 2013, he would inscribe "C4KT" beside it. He wanted a championship for Kip Taviano, a senior wide receiver killed in a car accident on May 28.

The Fords won a "chip for Kip" on Saturday afternoon, defeating host Episcopal Academy, 27-7, in Newtown Square to secure a share of the Inter-Ac title with Malvern Prep.

"It didn't add any extra pressure," senior receiver Michael Solomon said. "We already knew we were going out there for Kip."

Solomon, who said he considered Taviano a mentor, caught the winning score in the second quarter and sealed the win for the Fords (6-5 overall, 4-1 Inter-Ac) with two late red-zone interceptions. Senior quarterback Brendan Burke shined on offense, tossing three TDs and running in another.

While the seniors dedicated the win to Taviano, the underclassmen had more on their minds.

"We weren't going to let the seniors lose," said junior L.J. Barlow, who saved a touchdown with a fourth-quarter tackle on the 5-yard line, one play before Christian Giubilato picked off a pass in the end zone.

"We wanted to win for Kip, and we wanted to win for them."

Evan Butts, Episcopal's Virginia-bound senior, did his best in his last high school game, breaking free for a 73-yard TD catch before halftime, but late turnovers doomed the Churchmen (8-3, 3-2).

"He's a superstar of a person and a great kid," EA coach Todd Fairlie said of Butts. "Someone like that doesn't come along very often."

When Haverford School had the ball, Burke, working out of the spread offense for the final time, played with Taviano on his mind. When he removed his helmet, he revealed how true that was.

On Thursday night, Burke shaved "10VE" into the side of his head. It's a Twitter hashtag that the Fords created, using Taviano's No. 10 to spell "love."

"I just wanted to do something special for him," Burke said.

"This is bigger than us. He definitely carried us to this point."

Haverford School 7 6 7 7 – 27

Episcopal Academy 0 7 0 0 – 7

HS: Brendan Burke 1 run (Kyle Colburn kick)

HS: Solomon 13 pass from Burke (kick failed)

EA: Butts 73 pass from Ryan Whayland (Connor Ringwalt kick)

HS: Micah Sims 14 pass from Burke (Colburn kick)

HS: Dox Aitken 43 pass from Burke (Colburn kick)


mmacyk@phillynews.com

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