Login |  Register |  help
Lions Sports

Haley Helps Bonner End Decade Drought Against O'Hara

OHara Varsity vs Monsignor Bonner HS on 10/15/2011 1:00:00 PM
Posted Thursday, October 20, 2011 by www.delcotimes.com

H.S. FOOTBALL: Haley helps Bonner end decade drought against O’Hara


Click to enlarge

UPPER DARBY — Late in the fourth quarter Saturday afternoon, Jim Haley raised his arms in the air, demanding that Monsignor Bonner’s fan section make some noise.

The Friars’ starting quarterback then kneeled down for the third and final time. When the clock struck zero, Haley’s teammates and coaches rushed the field en masse to celebrate a landmark victory for Bonner athletics.

For the first time in 10 years, Monsignor Bonner’s varsity football team had defeated Cardinal O’Hara. The score was 20-13.

“This is huge,” said Haley, a vital part of the Friars’ historic win. “It’s been 10 years. I mean, I don’t know what else to say, really. I don’t know how else to describe it other than saying that it was awesome. It’s one of the best feelings I’ve ever had playing football.”

The Friars (4-3, 1-0) meant business from the start. On defense, they flocked to the ball and made hard-hitting tackles. Early on, they proved they could drive the ball against an inexperienced and slightly undersized O’Hara defense.

“It was, by far, the biggest game of the year,” Haley said. “We know these three games versus (Archbishop) Wood, (Archbishop) Carroll and O’Hara in the (Catholic League Class AAA) are very important. We wanted to get out to a good start. You could tell, we were all pumped and we were hungry.”

You knew Bonner had the edge when O’Hara, on the game’s first possession, let a nine-play drive that chewed up nearly four minutes of clock. The Lions had the ball on the Friars’ 25-yard line but failed to strike on a fourth-and-long.

“You always get concerned that if the kids get too excited, do they wear themselves out or are they able to finish in the second half,” Bonner coach Tom Oropeza said. “Fortunately, those kids were able to stay excited, but also play assignment football which is important.”

Bonner was 0-11 against O’Hara since Nov. 4, 2001, when the Friars earned a 16-14 victory during a season in which they fell one win shy of claiming a Catholic League title. It was only fitting the drought ended Saturday, the same day that Bonner honored its 1961 City League championship team.

Bonner jumped to a 14-0 advantage after one half and never looked back. The player of the game was Haley, who finished 7-for-16 for 109 passing yards and a touchdown. On the ground, he led the team with 83 yards on 10 carries, including a 33-yard scamper through the gut of O’Hara’s defense that resulted in six points and all but sealed the Friars’ victory with 6:56 left in regulation.

“Lack of execution,” O’Hara coach Danny Algeo said of that particular play. “Their skill kids are good and up front, this is probably the best offensive line (at Bonner) in 10 years. They’ve got some big, physical kids and they move bodies pretty well.”

Algeo heaped praise on Haley, who not only made the big plays on offense but also excelled in the secondary. Algeo, a championship coach himself who has coached great quarterbacks, knows talent when he sees it.

“The Haley kid is special. I don’t use the term ‘great’ very often —- that kid is a great high school football player,” Algeo said. “He just seems to rally the troops and he’s really impressive. They’ve got a really nice team.”

Haley scampered from four yards out on the first play of the second quarter to put Bonner ahead, 7-0. He found Eric Womack in the end zone on a 25-yard connection late in the second quarter to give the Friars a two-touchdown cushion.

The Lions were prepared in the second half and played a near-flawless third quarter. Sophomore quarterback Dashawn Darden’s touchdown toss to Jay Watkins (three catches, 67 yards) cut the deficit in half.

Damiere Shaw, O’Hara’s Temple-bound senior, though quiet for most of the game, hauled in a 6-yard pass from Darden to make it 20-13 with 1:25 to play. A wonderfully placed onside kick by All-Delco Steven Weyler fell in the arms of Bonner’s Paul Pfeffinger, and O’Hara never got the ball back.

“The kids did great,” said Oropeza, a 1995 Bonner graduate. “The defense did a great job in the second half, buckling down and stopping them when they needed to.”

The chances are great that O’Hara and Bonner will meet again in the Catholic League playoffs.

“I told my kids afterward that I’m really proud of them (and) they never quit,” Algeo said. “That’s a trademark of O’Hara football.”

This page was created in 0.1406 seconds on server 132