By: Amanda Crescenzo
With an ongoing undefeated record and a dominant offense that probably leaves defensive coordinators up all night preparing a game plan, The Garnet Valley Jaguars are en route to another triumphant season.
The Jags are currently ranked first and sit on top of the throne on the PIAA D1 6A Football Bracket and, on top of that, also ranked first in the Central League standings. An undefeated record and an impressive spot on multiple divisional brackets put them in a good position for the postseason.
Not only are the Jags averaging around 40 points every game, but they are also even leading by double digits before halftime rolls around, sometimes even before the first quarter ends… Last Saturday, the Jags took on Lower Merion High School as well as an early 7-0 lead only five minutes into the first quarter. Senior Quarterback Matt Mesaros hurled a 7-YD touchdown pass to Junior Running Back Ronnie Leraris to kick things off for the Garnet Valley offense. In addition to an impressive offensive start, the Jags’ tenacious defense rebelled against the Aces.
Garnet Valley’s defense has been put in the spotlight all this season. All the opposing teams they have encountered have averaged around seven points, demonstrating this unit’s strenuous effort
made every Friday Night. Throughout Saturday’s game, they applied ongoing pressure to fatigue Lower Merion’s offense, limiting their amount of drives and causing them to punt on 4th down on their first possession.
During the Jags’ second possession of the quarter, several key players, including Jason Bernard, Luke Mingioni, and Leraris, maintained that spark. Once again, Mesaros had another pass completion to Leraris, where he darted inside the 40-yard line, picking up the first down, leaving room for Bernard to pick up 12 more yards, delivering yet another first down around the 25-yard line, following Bernards’s feat, Mesaros connected with Mingioni for an additional pass completion before Mingioni was tackled by Lower Merion’s Junior DB Declan Mack around the 7-yard line; despite the tackle before reaching the end zone, Mingioni accumulated enough yards to make it 1st and goal, ultimately assisting Bernard to carry in his first touchdown of the day to make the score 14-0 before the first quarter was even over.
Lower Merion’s record improved to 2-5 after a 34-13 win over Harriton High School but soon fell to 2-6 after Saturday’s game; they face the 5-3 Springfield Cougars this upcoming Friday. Springfield improved to 5-3 after they defeated Penncrest 36-20 last Friday night. Garnet Valley defeated Springfield 20-7 earlier in the season.
In an accomplished 2021 season, the Jags went undefeated, finishing 10-0 in the regular season; they went on to become Central League champions (once again), flew right through districts, and made their way back to the District 1 Championship, where they defeated Coatesville 54-15, a title they have not been able to claim since 2007. The achievements obtained throughout last season’s run gave the Jags a secured bid to the state tournament, pushing their way to the PIAA Semifinals before falling to St. Joseph’s Prep in a devastating 49-13 loss, finishing 14-1, unable to reach a sweep.
Crucial players from last season that returned included Jason Bernard, Jack Westburg, Kieran Gallagher, Drew Van Horn, and Joe Checchio.
Even though The Jags could not bring it home last year, the program knows what it takes. They know what it takes to repeat all achievements from the past but take it a step further. They will continue to build off the previous successes with new experiences to add to their system. The passionate playing we saw last year is what we are seeing again this season; not only are they still undefeated; they are still calling and making well-executed plays all over the field; we still see the skillful and admiringly hard-working players, the offense putting up big numbers on the board as well as an aggressive defensive line tackling their opponent, as well as their chance to score.
In wake of the well-deserved Bye-Week, The Jags seem in a favorable position to keep the current streak of their domination game going. They have one more regular season game before their postseason starts; till then, they face Conestoga on October 28th in their final regular season game. The game will be held at the MOE at 7 PM. Conestoga (right now on a two-game losing streak) is currently 5-3, taking 6th place in the central league standings and 11th place overall in the PIAA District I 6A Football Rankings.