Hornets hold off Waterloo for 28-20 win

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By Carol McIntire, Editor

Three games into the 2022 season, the Malvern Hornets played for the first time in front of their home crowd and put on an offensive show for the fans.

The Hornet offense put up over 400 yards of offense in a 28-20 win over Waterloo, that included passing touchdowns of 21 and 10 yards.

It was nice to get a win in our home opener,” Coach Matt Chiurco said after the win. “Jared (Witherow, sophomore quarterback) played a very good game with limited practice time this week. He might not have had as much zip on his ball, but he made up for it with his accuracy and he did a nice job running the ball as well.”

Witherow completed 15 of 22 passes for 279 yards with one interception.

The Hornet receivers played a big part in the win.

Junior Dylan Phillips put the hosts on the board in the first quarter when he pulled in a 21-yard Witherow pass for a touchdown. Kicker Ryan Runyon added the extra point and the hosts enjoyed a 7-0 lead.  Sophomore Rodney Smith caught a 10-yard strike from Witherow in the second quarter and, with Runyon’s extra point, the Hornets enjoyed a 14-0 lead halftime lead. Phillips ended the game with 101 yards on eight catches and Smith Smith caught three passes for 59 yards.

The Waterloo Viking weren’t about to let the sting from the Hornets stop them.

The Vikings returned the second half kickoff 73 yards for a touchdown and added a three-yard score to tie the contest at 14-14 in the third period.

Witherow put the hosts back on top with a touchdown from eight yards out in the fourth quarter and senior KJ. Wafler caught an 82-yard pass from Witherow to give the Hornets a 28-14 lead. Wafler ended the night with two catches for 101 yards.

Waterloo closed out the scoring with a three-yard touchdown run late in the game. The extra point kick failed.

Chiurco praised the effort of his young running back, sophomore Drake Hutchison.

“Drake once again had some good hard runs,” the coach noted, adding he picked up 58 yards on 16 carries. “Our offensive line did a nice job as well.”

Defensively, Malvern held Waterloo to less than half of the Hornet output.

The Vikings picked up 122 yards on the ground in 30 attempts and 60 yards through the air for a total of 186 yards.

Defensively, I thought, other than a play or two, we played well,” Chiurco added.

Junior Manny Walker led the defense with 10 tackles, including one for a loss. Senior Walker tallied nine tackles and Frank McClelland added eight.

In spite of the win, which kept the Hornets unbeaten (3-0), the coach also found areas where the team needs to improve.

“Other than our PAT team, our special teams were not very good tonight. That will be a big emphasis this week. We have to cut down on the penalties. It’s becoming an issue and it reflects on us as a coaching staff,” he said.

The Hornets were penalized 11 times for 88 yards compared to six penalties for 55 yards for Waterloo.

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