Haverford High coach Joe Gallagher is happy that his Fords no longer have to face former Garnet Valley running backs Danny Guy and Matt Lassik.
Guy and Lassik last season combined to rush for 2,860 yards and 30 touchdowns while leading the Jaguars to a 12-2 mark and the PIAA District 1 Class 6A final.
But facing No. 7-ranked Garnet Valley, which visits No. 14 Haverford in a Central League contest at 7 p.m. Friday at A.G. Cornog Stadium, remains a daunting task.
Mike Ricci's squad has another formidable duo this season in quarterback running back Colin Robinson and quarterback Cole Palis.
Robinson, a part-time contributor in the squad's triple-option attack last year, has carried 29 times for 238 yards and five touchdowns. "He's a strong runner with great vision," Ricci said.
Palis, who sat out part of last season because of a knee injury, has rushed 14 times for 186 yards and two scores. "He's a real dynamic kid," Gallagher said.
A three-sport athlete who will play baseball at Penn, Palis also has a strong arm. "He's been throwing pinpoint passes," Ricci said.
Other key offensive contributors for the Jaguars are running backs Dom LaBricciosa and Greg Reynolds, slotback Rory Glackin, and wide receivers Nick Westburg and Brandon DiCamillo.
Garnet Valley's defensive focus will center on slowing QB Jake Ruane.
Ruane has connected on 19 of 35 passes for 390 yards and four TDs. The 6-foot-2, 205-pound senior has carried 24 times for 181 yards and five scores.
Ruane is supported by handyman Trey Blair, running back Chasen Wint, and wide receivers Shane Mosley and Kevin DePrince.
In clearing room for Robinson and Co., the Jaguars rely on tackle and third-year starter Kyle McCullough (5-10, 245), guard George Wiesendanger (5-10, 235), and center Jake Colelli (5-11, 250).
The Fords' offensive line is anchored by center Paul Denman (5-11, 215), guard Stephen Peta (5-9, 205), and tackle Sean Leyden (6-1, 230).
Garnet Valley (2-0 overall, 1-0 league) at Haverford High (2-0, 1-0), Friday, 7 p.m.
Last season: The host Jaguars netted 342 rushing yards on 70 attempts and triumphed, 28-13, at Moe DeFrank Stadium.
Longtime coaches: Joe Gallagher is in his 27th season in charge at Haverford. Mike Ricci has directed Garnet Valley for 32 years.
Stalwart: The Jaguars' Cade Brennan is a hard-charging defensive end. The 6foot-4, 255-pound senior has committed to Bucknell.
Welcome back: Haverford's Trey Blair, a multipurpose threat, is expected back after missing last week's 44-15 win over Conestoga with an injury.