Larry Livers, a chip off Grandpa’s block

Andy Talley, Villanova coach
Villanova football coach Andy Talley recorded career win No. 200 after beating Penn.

Grandpa had to be thrilled.

While Villanova was in the process of dismantling Penn, 35-6, this past Saturday, Larry Livers IV — better known as Poppy — was doing the family name proud.

With eight receptions for 121 yards, including his first two touchdown catches, the kid who trekked 3,000 miles across the country to become a walk-on, is beginning to live up to his bloodlines. Considering his Grandpa, Larry Jr., played hoops for ‘Nova and qualified for the 1968 U.S. Olympic track team in the high hurdles in Mexico City, that’s quite a legacy.

“I knew my grandfather came here back in the day,” said Poppy, who played high school ball in Southern California, before spending a year at Valley Forge Military Academy. “He was pushing me, ‘Cats baby. ‘Cats.’

“I didn’t know where Villanova was being in California. But once I got to Valley Forge I told him, ‘Grandpa. I want to go to Villanova.’ He was very happy and emotional. He saw my first career TD on a punt return.”

The junior didn’t find the end zone again until Saturday, making a nice cutback and outrunning the field on a 50-yard touchdown pass to make it 21-0 in the second quarter. That came right after ‘Nova’s Rakim Cox blocked a field goal and Craig James scooped it up and romped 73 yards untouched to make it 14-0.

Later, ‘Nova’s multi-talented quarterback John Robertson hooked up with Livers from five yards out. That was Robertson’s third scoring pass on a day when he threw for 266 yards and also ran for 132 and a touchdown. With Kevin Monangai rushing for 101 yards, it marked the first time in Al Bagnoli’s 22 years at Penn that the Quakers allowed two 100-yard rushers in a game.

And Livers, listed generously at 5-foot-7, 170 lbs., kept finding holes in the defense.

“He’s that mosquito who keep buzzing around,” said Talley, now 12-0 over his good buddy, Bagnoli. He just won a scholarship. You could not hold him back. He’s just a dynamic player.’”

A chip off Grandpa’s block.

“He called me twice before the game, but I didn’t get to talk to him,” said Poppy. “His head’s going to come off when he hears about this. He’ll say ‘I should’ve been there.’”


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