HAVERFORD — With every snap he takes, Kevin Carter is feeling more and more like he belongs.
Fords coach Mike Murphy has decided to go with the hot hand at quarterback. While Brendan Burke is the incumbent and has every chance to assume the No. 1 role, Carter is showing the coaching staff that he deserves to be on the field.
Carter and the Fords recorded their long-awaited first victory of the season Saturday, a 13-12 decision over Blair (N.J.) Academy.
Carter registered a pair of touchdown runs, finishing with 42 yards on the ground and 4-for-14 for 98 yards through the air.
"Today, I gained a lot of confidence,' Carter said. "I feel like I'm earning my spot, but I know I have a lot of work to do. As a sophomore in leading this team, it just makes me so much happier (to win a game). I know a lot of these guys are juniors and seniors and I'm the little puppy of the group.'
Carter has the ability to develop into a dangerous dual threat behind center for the Fords (1-3). While he needs to work on his accuracy, his receivers certainly didn't help matters. Of Carter's 10 incompletions, five were dropped by would-be Haverford pass catchers.
"Right now, I know I'm not always taking my time out there,' he said. "I'm feeling more confident, but I'm rushing a few things with the new hurry-up offense. I just have to take my time, set my feet and make my passes.'
Carter's poor completion rate isn't indicative of how he performed Saturday.
"We dropped a lot of footballs again today,' Murphy said. "Some of those throws that were dropped aren't necessarily going to get recognized because they wound up on the ground. But (Carter) made some big-time throws that he didn't get credit for. If we catch some of those balls, the scoreboard looks a little differently.'
Carter is fitting right in with the upperclassmen, showing good poise and the ability to lead the Fords to victory. He's beginning to gain his teammates' respect.
"The first game he was out there (Week 1), you could tell he was uncomfortable,' said captain Nick Helber, Haverford School's starting center. "The whole week, we've been trying to calm him down a little, tell him to have a good time instead of worrying about everything and thinking too much.'
Murphy lauded his players for playing a complete game, something the Fords hadn't done prior to Saturday. Although, defensively, the Fords gave up 354 yards, the unit made big stops in the second half and recorded two interceptions.
Blair Academy running back Anterio Bateman had quite a day (216 yards), but his touchdown with two minutes to play — a 3-yard run off a halfback toss — was negated due to a penalty. Pushed back to the Fords' 15 yard-line, the Bucs tried a long field-goal attempt, but the ball never got much air and was blocked by the Fords at the line of scrimmage.
"This is probably the best feeling I've had in a long time,' Helber said. "Every week, I feel like we haven't had that click. This week, we had it.'
Mike Solomon's 22-yard catch early in the fourth quarter set up the Fords inside the red zone. Moments later, Carter scampered into the end zone from two yards out to put Haverford ahead to stay, 13-12. Carter also took a quarterback option 21 yards to paydirt in the second quarter for the game's first points.
Blair called upon its 275-pound fullback to give the team a five-point edge at halftime. Quashae Hendryx had touchdown rumbles of 2 and 35 in the second quarter.
Haverford's best weapon, Phil Poquie, was out the entire second half due to injury. Murphy seemed optimistic that his star running back won't miss any time. Poquie gained 45 yards on 10 carries and lost two fumbles before exiting.