By John Lohn, Delaware County Times
October 19, 2007
The heavy downpour that was forecast didn’t materialize. But the intermittent sprinkle that hit Prevost Field was enough to open the door for a fullback to shine. John Rutecki took advantage of the opportunity.
Carrying the offensive load, Rutecki churned out 172 yards on 21 totes to lead Marple Newtown to a 22-0 blanking of Radnor in Central League action Friday night. The senior, part of a quality inside-outside combination, scored twice.
The victory was key for the Tigers, who snapped a three-game losing streak. During that stretch, made difficult by a number of injuries, Marple was outscored, 72-12. As the team heads to Lincoln Financial Field today to take in Temple’s matchup with Miami (Ohio), the Tigers should be feeling good.
“Going three weeks without a win and under the conditions we were dealing with, that was tough,” said coach Ray Gionta. “It was great to get a win. I think it was important mentally. We’ve had three winning seasons in a row and we’d like to make it four. It was good to keep the ship afloat.”
That’s where Rutecki figured into the equation. Raising his season-yardage total to 563, the 6-1, 200-pounder routinely picked up tough yards. Yet, he also demonstrated the ability to supply the big play, as he totaled six double-digit gains.
Rutecki is the thunder in Marple’s running game, with John Gallagher serving as the lightning. Gallagher, the outside threat, picked up 74 yards on 13 carries and Phil Graziano checked in with 42 yards.
On the offensive line, the Tigers received quality efforts from Steve Reynolds, Jon McKeighan and Kevin Lopez. Also making a mark were Jay Trio and Joe Gordon, along with Dan Giordano.
“This is the kind of weather I like,” said Rutecki, a three-sport standout. “I wanted to grind it out and play hard-nosed football. I know I’m the inside guy. I’m not going to beat anyone to the outside. We had a feeling we could do this. We had a good week of practice and we executed.”
After Andrew Dougan booted a 33-yard field goal in the first quarter, Marple took a 9-0 lead into halftime when quarterback Steve Giordano scored on a 1-yard run. The key play leading to Giordano’s touchdown was a 48-yard run by Gallagher.
Marple scored on both of its third-quarter possessions with Rutecki finding the end zone on runs of 2 yards and 1 yard. Rutecki rolled up 82 of his yards in the third quarter, the bulk of which arrived on a 46-yard scamper.
Meanwhile, the Tigers’ defense turned in its third shutout of the season. Sam Hafez and Dan Giordano registered interceptions, with Giordano’s pick leading to a touchdown. Trio had a solid showing on the defensive line.
With its latest win, Marple (5-3, 4-3) remained alive for a berth to the Class AAA postseason. However, in order to reach the playoffs for the second straight year, the Tigers will need wins over Haverford and Conestoga.
“We’re not out of it yet,” Rutecki said. “We’re going to make a run at it.”
Although Radnor was held out of the end zone, quarterback Tyler Andersen posted his fourth 100-yard passing game of the season. The junior was 9-for-22 for 146 yards and upped his season mark to 795 yards. Tight end Ryan Kraus had a pair of receptions worth 58 yards.
“We have to find some consistency,” said coach Tom Ryan. “At times, we’ll drive down the field and do some good things, then stall out. Defensively, we’ll make some stops, then give up the big play. We’re looking to put together a full quarter, then a half. You have to start small and build from there.”