Aigeldinder, defense make their stand
By John Lohn, Delaware County Times
October 07, 2006
Since allowing a fourth-quarter touchdown to Upper Darby in a Sept. 8 loss, the Tigers (5-1, 4-1) have held the opposition scoreless for 199-plus minutes. During that time, Marple has tallied 121 points.
“Four straight shutouts. That says something,” said coach Ray Gionta. “We came up with some big plays, especially at the end. These guys have been solid.”
Holding its one-touchdown advantage, provided by a 3-yard run by Jon Liberty, Marple appeared to be in good shape in the closing minutes when a 22-yard punt by Ted Seiler forced the Lions to start from their 14-yard line with 2:30 left.
But in eight plays, the final being a 30-yard pass from E.J. Calderoni to Ricky Bailey, Penncrest drove to the Marple 2-yard line. Suddenly, overtime seemed to be a possibility, barring a two-point conversion attempt.
The Lions, though, never got the chance to make that two-point decision. After a direct snap to Patrick O’Donnell (82 rushing yards) moved the ball inside the 1-yard line, Calderoni threw an incomplete pass on second down.
On third down, and with Penncrest out of timeouts, Calderoni rolled left and bolted for the end zone. But, Pat Aigeldinger came flying across the field and brought the quarterback down for a 2-yard loss. Seconds later, the clock ran out.
“We have a lot of veteran guys on this team and we weren’t going to give up,” said Aigeldinger, who was aided by Seiler on the final stop. “We were confident we were going to hold them out. Our line was doing a good job of clogging up the middle. That let the linebackers roam and I was able to get over there and bring him down.”
While the Tigers managed 340 yards in total offense, their only touchdown arrived in the third quarter. Faced with a fourth-and-one from its 35-yard line, Penncrest decided to go for the first down instead of punt. But a 3-yard loss on a direct snap to O’Donnell handed Marple superb field position.
Six plays later, Liberty scooted into the end zone from three yards out. The first two plays of the series resulted in 14-yard pickups, a pass from Liberty to Steve Giordano and a run by John Rutecki. Liberty, who found ample running room on the outside, finished with 111 yards on 12 carries.
Marple could have had some breathing room down the stretch, but two touchdowns were nullified by penalty, including a second-quarter sprint by John Gallagher, who ended with 82 rushing yards. Defensively, Pete Massaro and Perry Koliatsis excelled up front.
“Penncrest did a good job stopping the internal running game and that left the outside soft,” Gionta said. “(Liberty) is a good leader and makes plays when he needs to.”
Coming off back-to-back shutout wins over Radnor and Haverford, the Lions were in position to claim an upset. They simply ran out of time, and into a defense that has been sensational.
“We’re going to move on to the next week,” said Penncrest coach Tom Durant. “The only way to erase something like this is to get the next one.”