by Matt Smith, Delaware County Daily Times
It’s the midway point of the Delco football regular season, and four Central League teams remain undefeated in the conference.
That will change this weekend.
In the game of the week, Marple Newtown (3-1) hosts Haverford High (4-0) Saturday night. The Tigers and Fords are tied atop the Central League standings alongside Garnet Valley and Springfield.
Garnet Valley (4-0) looks to stay perfect against Strath Haven (2-2), while Springfield (4-0) travels to Penncrest (1-3).
This weekend features seven games Friday night and eight Saturday due to the Jewish holiday, Rosh Hashanah.
Two Del Val League teams — Academy Park and Chichester — are on bye weeks. Next weekend marks the beginning of Del Val play.
Here is a look at five games to watch this weekend:
Card. O’Hara (3-1) at Bonner & Prendie (0-4), 7
The Lions and Friars make for an interesting game every year, even if one team is searching for its first win in 2017.
O’Hara fell to Bishop McDevitt, 10-7, in its Catholic League Blue Division opener last Saturday. The Lions outgained the Lancers, 214-124, but hurt themselves by committing a season-high five turnovers. Ta’seer Jones’ 32-yard run in the fourth quarter resulted in the Lions’ only points.
The Friars battled to the bitter end with Lansdale Catholic, but came out on the losing end of a 13-12 decision. The defeat marked a step forward for the Friars, who had scored one touchdown in their previous three games.
First-year quarterback Shon Nelson engineered two scoring drives in the fourth quarter. He connected with Kyrin Jackson and Ryan Beck on touchdown passes. Jackson has accounted for three of Bonner’s four touchdowns this season, and is coming off a 124-yard performance against LC.
O’Hara and Bonner will play at Upper Darby’s Memorial Field.
Garnet Valley (4-0) at Strath Haven (2-2), 7:30
With leading rusher Zack Hussein sidelined, the Panthers couldn’t keep up with undefeated Springfield (4-0) last week, falling 41-14. Sean Daly helped fill the void at running back, amassing 114 yards and two touchdowns to pace the Haven offense. Jake Fisher completed eight passes and threw for a TD. The Panthers had a difficult time containing the Springfield offense, which received a fantastic performance from running back Ja’Den McKenzie (150 yards, three TDs).
Strath Haven has defeated Garnet Valley one time (21-20 in 2010). The Jaguars downed Penncrest last week, 28-7. The No. 1 team in the Daily Times Super 7 has allowed 14 or fewer points in each of its first four contests. Matt Lassik has rushed for 488 yards and five TDs, spearheading a stellar run offense which is averaging 279 yards per game and 6.3 yards per carry.
Interboro (2-2) at Penn Charter (2-0), 11 a.m.
Interboro will look to end a two-game losing streak. Last week, the Bucs let a fourth-quarter lead against Perkiomen Valley fall by the wayside. Kalie Kuyateh rushed for 89 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries to pace the Interboro offense. The senior ranks among the top five in the county in rushing yardage (448) and touchdowns (six). Tim Convery notched his second punt return touchdown of the season.
Penn Charter return off a bye week after posting back-to-back blowouts over Lansdale Catholic (20-6) and Bonner & Prendergast (42-6). Interboro will have its hands full with running back Edward Saydee, who is averaging 8.4 yards per carry with four touchdowns.
Haverford School (1-2) at Penn Wood (2-2), 1
The Fords have lost two games to Division 1 recruit-laden Woodson (D.C.) and Blair Academy (N.J.). Between those two lopsided defeats was an impressive victory against West Catholic back on Week 3. Ben Gerber was 8-for-14 with 72 yards and a touchdown in the loss to Blair last Saturday. Daiyaan Hawkins had a couple of big plays, including a 30-yard touchdown run and a 35-yard touchdown reception.
The Patriots are riding high following consecutive wins over Council Rock North and Norristown. In last week’s 44-14 shellacking of Norristown, Elijah Gleplay racked up 116 yards on the ground, while sophomore quarterback Desman Johnson Jr. ran for 76 yards on seven carries with two TDs.
Haverford (4-0) at Marple Newtown (3-1), 7
The Fords have won three of their four games by an average of 40.6 points. The defense, though, continues to fly under the radar. Led in part by linemen Dan Young and Tim Campli, the Fords have allowed more than 200 yards in a game only once. The Fords lead the county in turnover margin (plus-8). Jordan Mosley, a Maryland commit, has caught a touchdown pass from junior Jake Ruane in every game.
With their 14-12 victory, Tigers defeated Ridley for the first time since 2005. Marlon Weathers led the offense with 94 rushing yards and a touchdown. Jake Simpson paced the defense with two fumble recovers and Aaron Diamond sealed the win with an interception.
Haverford and Marple Newtown rank fourth and fifth, respectively, in the Daily TimesSuper 7.
Photo: Marple Newtown running back Marlon Weathers and the Tigers host Haverford High in a key Central League matchup Saturday night. (PETE BANNAN – DIGITAL FIRST MEDIA)