For Garnet Valley to make the Playoffs in the final week of the regular season it was out of their hands. The Garnet Valley Jaguars needed to win and needed some help from other teams. Entering this final week the Jaguars sat at number 17 in the District One rankings; only 16 teams make the playoffs.
The Jaguars needed at least one of the two teams ahead of them to lose, either West Chester Henderson or Penn Wood. Last night West Chester Henderson won their game against Downingtown East by six points, 30-24. The Jaguars only hope was for Penn Wood to lose their game against Chester. The Penn Wood and Chester game started at 2:00pm. A half an hour later the Jaguars kicked off their game against the Lower Merion Aces at Lower Merion.
Just one minute and forty five seconds into the game the Jaguars scored. On fourth down at the nine yard line senior quarterback Jake Helmes threw a nine yard touchdown pass to Justin Pyle for a 7-0 lead.
At halftime the Jaguars led the Aces 7-0. The halftime score at Chester began to look hopeful for the Jaguars. Chester led Penn Wood 8-0. Going into the second half the Jaguars were looking for more touchdowns and they were hoping Chester continued to win.
In the last couple of games the Jaguars began to play their senior, Jeremy Irving both ways; linebacker and fullback. Irving scored back to back touchdowns in the third quarter. His first was a 17 yard carry. The Jaguars went to him again and Irving scored on an 11 yard run to put the Jaguars up by three scores, 21-0. “Our right guard crushed the defensive player in front of me (on the 11 yard touchdown run) and I just scored easily” said Irving.
The Jaguars biggest defensive stand came in the fourth quarter. The Aces began driving down the field into Jaguars territory using their senior running back Josh Novak and senior running back Jimmy Chimekas. On fourth down and one yard to go on the Jaguars 16 yard line, junior quarterback, Desmond Ellis handed the ball off to Chimekas and he was stuffed by the Jaguars and short of the first down which turned the ball over to the Jags. Head coach of Garnet Valley, Mike Ricci said, “We played well defensively and consistently and created a couple of turnovers. I just thought we played a good solid game on defense.”
Late in the game the 6’2, 180 pounder Chimekas did finally find the end zone on a 1 yard dive with only 2:25 to go in the game. Lower Merion needed a miracle to come back down two scores. Jaguars’ defensive back, Austen Conrad ended all hope as he intercepted Ellis ‘pass and ended the game and the regular season with a 21-7 Garnet Valley win.
Halfway through the fourth quarter the Jaguars received bad news. Penn Wood came back and beat Chester by a score of 18-8; which means for the first time in four years the Garnet Valley Jaguars would not be competing in the Playoffs. The Jaguars did though end the regular season with a 7 and 3 record. “I am proud of these guys. We had a couple things that didn’t go our way during the course of the season and it never stopped us from giving everything we had. It’s just a great group to coach and be around.”
Mike Ricci commented about his senior class and said, “We have great, seniors…we always have great kids, at Garnet Valley.”