Haverford High takes down Upper Darby

Haverford High's Chris Lyons uses his head to break up a pass intended for Upper Darby's DeAndre Pendergrass. The Fords' Anthony Zinni is at left. LOU RABITO / Staff
Haverford High's Chris Lyons uses his head to break up a pass intended for Upper Darby's DeAndre Pendergrass. The Fords' Anthony Zinni is at left. LOU RABITO / Staff
Posted: November 30, 2013

In the mind of senior running back Alex Drum, Haverford High players can call themselves "champions" after Thursday's 31-13 win over Thanksgiving rival Upper Darby.

"We were fully focused on this game for the last two weeks since we were bounced from [qualifying for] the playoffs," Drum said. "But this is better than the playoffs. This is a championship game right here."

After a scoreless opening quarter, the Fords recovered an Upper Darby fumble on a punt return and took over at the Royals' 27-yard line. Three plays later, Jack Donaghy threw a 22-yard strike to senior Chris Lyons to open the scoring.

Two more fumble recoveries by Haverford's Mike Chicano led to touchdowns to extend the lead to 21-0 with a little more than three minutes remaining in the first half.

"I told our team at that point in the game that it is very unlikely that we are going to shut them out," Fords coach Joe Gallagher said. "I told them to be ready for it and to keep our composure when it happens."

Gallagher's words proved true as the Royals drove the field in the half's final minutes. Chris Rossiter found DeAndre Pendergrass in the end zone for a 9-yard score to cut the lead to 21-7 at the break.

Upper Darby took the ball out of halftime, and on just the third play from scrimmage, Rossiter again connected with Pendergrass, for a 63-yard touchdown. The Royals did not get any closer.

Moments later, Drum took a handoff to the outside and had a clear path to the end zone. The 68-yard touchdown run was not common for the 5-foot-11, 245-pound running back.

The win was the fourth straight for the Fords (8-3 overall, 7-2 Central League) in a Thanksgiving-game rivalry that dates to 1921. It brings the series to 44-42-6 in favor of Upper Darby (8-4, 7-2).

"This game is bittersweet every year," Gallagher said. "The win is great, but the seniors are finished now and that is always tough."

Haverford's seniors went out in a big way. The first half was led by two touchdowns from Lyons, and classmate Jai Thornton added another.

Drum, named the game's offensive MVP, summed up the seniors' feelings.

"We get bragging rights for life going out like this," he said.

The words of a champion.

Upper Darby 0 7 6 0 - 13

Haverford High 0 21 7 3 - 31

HH: Chris Lyons 22 pass from Jack Donaghy (Evan Boyce kick)

HH: Jai Thornton 7 run (Boyce kick)

HH: Lyons 1 run (Boyce kick)

UD: DeAndre Pendergrass 9 pass from Chris Rossiter (Rossiter kick)

UD: Pendergrass 63 pass from Rossiter (kick failed)

HH: Alex Drum 68 run (Boyce kick)

HH: FG Boyce 23


tmahon@phillynews.com

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