Football: Episcopal Academy 26, Malvern Prep 7

It was a lights-out performance by Episcopal Academy.

Friday, in the first night game at the Pellegrini Athletic Complex, the Churchmen repeatedly stymied Malvern Prep's offense and easily downed the Friars, 26-7, in an Inter-Ac League contest.

"This is the game we worked for all year, really," Episcopal senior quarterback Adam Strouss said. "These guys are always at the top of the league, always tough, big kids."

Episcopal's defense held the hosts to 121 yards rushing and 81 passing. The unit, led by junior end Evan Butts and senior outside linebacker Matt McLaughlin, forced two turnovers and sacked Billy Ford six times.

With the victory, the Churchmen improved to 8-0 overall and 3-0 in the Inter-Ac. Their last league title - and triumph against Malvern - came in 2004.

"I think we're definitely among the top teams in the area," Strouss said. "We really haven't played a very strong schedule, to be honest. But this is a big statement win."

In the first half, Strouss completed 11 of 16 passes for 226 yards and two touchdowns. He also ran nine times for 41 yards.

Overall, Strouss hit on 13 of 23 throws for 254 yards. "We knew they scheduled us [for the first night game] because they thought it was going to be a walk in the park," he said. "We came out strong, wanted to ruin it for them. That was extra motivation for us."

On Episcopal's opening series, Strouss, capping an 11-play, 60-yard drive, ran for a 5-yard score. Malvern responded with a 13-play, 61-yard series that ended with Ford's 1-yard sneak.

"We knew what kind of environment we'd be going into," Churchmen coach Todd Fairlie said. "Even though they scored right after we scored, I think we made them earn it."

On Episcopal's third possession, Strouss spotted Ian Strain streaking along the left sideline and connected with him for a 33-yard TD.

Later in the second quarter, Strouss and Kevin Gayhard hooked up for a 36-yard score to make it 20-7. It was Gayhardt's fumble recovery, created by Teddy Ibarguen's strip of fullback Connor Bohs, that set up the tally.

In the fourth quarter, Strain's 4-yard, right-side sweep sealed the victory. On the drive, Strouss rushed five times for 26 yards.

For the Friars, who fell to 5-3 and 2-1, Ford, under heavy pressure throughout, converted 10 of 17 throws for 81 yards.

Episcopal Academy 7 13 0 6-26
Malvern Prep 7 0 0 0-7
EA: Adam Strouss 5 run (Quinn Hager kick)
MP: Billy Ford 1 run (Jon Dollfus kick)
EA: Ian Strain 33 pass from Strouss (Hager kick)
EA: Kevin Gayhardt 36 pass from Strouss (kick failed)
EA: Strain 4 run (pass failed)

-Rick O'Brien