Ryan Engro and his teammates on Spring-Ford’s football team have seen their last two seasons end in disappointment.
In 2017, the Rams finished the season 6-5 with a 42-21 loss to Neshaminy in the first round of the District 1 Class 6A playoffs.
Last season, Spring-Ford allowed Perkiomen Valley to score the last 24 points of the game to win the Pioneer Athletic Conference Liberty Division title, then fell to Downingtown East in the district playoffs.
“This whole season has been driven by that we haven’t done anything as a class,” said Engro, a senior quarterback. “That’s our number one motivator.”
Spring-Ford, the No. 5 seed, will have a chance to change that on Friday against Haverford High, the 12th seed, in the District 1 Class 5A playoffs.
The Rams finished the season 8-2 overall and 5-0 against conference opponents, including a victory last week over Pope John Paul II for the PAC championship.
“Spring-Ford hasn’t won a district game since 2016,” Engro said. “So we’re trying to change that trend.”
Spring-Ford’s defense, which had some starters return from injuries in senior linebacker James Albert, senior linebacker Blaize Scarcelle and junior defensive tackle Donnie Nicoline, will be tasked with stopping Haverford senior quarterback Trey Blair.
Blair has led the Fords (8-2, 7-1 Central League) on an eight-game winning streak after back-to-back losses against Archbishop Carroll and Garnet Valley.
Blair poses a threat to opposing defenses with his arm and legs. He has rushed for 1,266 yards and 17 touchdowns and passed for 840 yards and six scores.
“They do a good job of running different things where he’s featured,” Spring-Ford coach Chad Brubaker said. “They’ll run a similar look where they hand it off to someone else, so he’s so athletic and fast, and we’re going to have to really be assignment-aware to defend him.”
Haverford’s offense has averaged 35.8 points per game this season, but Engro said he’s more than confident in the Rams offense if the game turns into a shootout.
Like Blair, Engro is a dual-threat quarterback. He has thrown for 2,113 yards for 21 touchdowns and rushed for 476 yards for 11 scores on 81 carries.
Engro is bolstered by three receivers -- senior Dante Bonanni, junior Nick Teets, and senior BJ Beard -- who have each caught at least 30 passes.
But one of the keys to beating Haverford, Engro said, is making sure tailback Armante Haynes is effective running the ball. The senior had 1,018 rushing yards for 14 touchdowns and 151 carries and became the 23rd Rams player to rush for more than 1,000 yards in a season.
“The games that he has big games are the games we do well in,” Engro said. “He’s a huge component to our offense. If I had to single a person out, it would definitely be Armante.”
Engro said his team is ready to achieve something it hasn’t done in four years.
“This is the moment that we’ve been waiting for,” Engro said. “We want an opportunity to make a splash in districts and to be able to show what Spring-Ford can do.”
This story has been corrected to show that Spring-Ford finished the 2017 season with a 6-5 record and a 42-21 loss to Neshaminy in the first round of the District 1 Class 6A -- not 5A -- playoffs and that the Rams last won a district game in 2016, not 2015.