Ridley, Haverford to battle for playoff berths

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Haverford quarterback Jack Donaghy. (Lou Rabtio/Staff)

The Central League football championship, which Springfield (Delco) is set to clinch for the first time since 1994, is out of the reach of Ridley and Haverford High.

But plenty will still be at stake when the Green Raiders and Fords renew their rivalry at 7 p.m. Friday at Haverford's A.G. Cornog Field.

Ridley (7-2 overall, 6-2 Central) and Haverford (6-3, 5-2) are on the bubble when it comes to qualifying for the 16-team PIAA District 1 Class AAAA playoff tournament, which will begin next weekend.

The Green Raiders, with a 105.56 average, are in 18th place entering the final week of the regular season. The Fords (103.33) are tied for 19th with Methacton.

Also in the mix to land one of the final playoff berths are 6-3 Pennridge (14th place, 112.22 average), 6-3 Downingtown West (15th, 110) and, with a 106.67 average and tied for 16th, 6-3 Truman and 5-4 Abington.

Ridley and Haverford are looking to return to the district playoffs after a one-year absence.

Here is a closer look at Friday's contest.

Coaches. Dennis Decker is 56-15 in six seasons for Ridley. In 23 years at Haverford, Joe Gallagher is 124-139-2.

Last year. The visiting Fords knocked off the Green Raiders, 28-19, in Week 10 at Phil Marion Field.

Savvy QB. Haverford's Jack Donaghy, a 5-foot-10, 160-pound junior and second-year starter, is a poised field general. He threw four touchdown passes last week in a 44-41 loss to Garnet Valley.

On a roll. The Green Raiders have won six straight, by a combined score of 201-51, since losing to Garnet Valley on Sept. 12.

Go-to guys. Donaghy's primary targets are wideouts Nick Costello (6-5, 205) and Dan Boyle and tight end Sam Romanofsky.

One-two punch. Ridley's Malik Young and Dasante Callis have combined for nearly 1,500 yards and 14 scores on the ground.

Likewise dangerous. The Fords offense also features running back Kevin Maloney and all-purpose threat John Kim.

Stalwarts. The Green Raiders' improving defense is anchored by end Mike Cropper, linebackers Tre Hinchey and Ryan Dougherty, and backs Jaasir Minor and Gene Gibbons.

Pick. Ridley triumphs, 26-20, and, getting help from others, secures a playoff berth.


robrien@phillynews.com

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