By John Lohn, Delaware County Times
October 28, 2007
Just a few weeks ago, Marple Newtown wasn’t part of any playoff discussion. Following a loss to Ridley, the Tigers had dropped three consecutive decisions and sorely needed a resurgence to get their season back in order. Now, with one week remaining before postseason bids are distributed, Marple is back in the equation.
The Tigers have posted back-to-back triumphs, including a 14-7 win over Haverford Friday night that was easily their biggest victory of the season. Marple was powered on the defensive line by Pete Massaro, a Penn State recruit, and Ken Clark, who registered a pair of sacks. Meanwhile, the offense did just enough to get the job done.
If the Tigers can beat Conestoga this weekend, they’ll garner their second straight trip to the postseason. If nothing else, Marple is assured of its fourth consecutive winning season under coach Ray Gionta. After posting seven-win seasons in 2004 and 2005, the Tigers notched eight victories last year and came within a missed field goal of earning a playoff win over Unionville.
Four weeks into the season, the Tigers were undefeated and feeling good. Then, the injury bug hit with force. Among those missing time were quarterback Steve Giordano, running back John Gallagher and lineman Brian Hulsey. Meanwhile, Massaro missed two-plus games before returning to the lineup against Haverford.
Hampered by their medical issues, Marple came up short against Strath Haven, Penncrest and Ridley. Although reeling, the Tigers never reached the point of collapse. To its credit, Marple battled forward and shifted momentum. Obviously, a return to health has helped, but not just from a physical aspect.
“After all of our injuries, we have the pieces of the puzzle back together,” said Gionta, following the win over Haverford. “I think we played with confidence knowing we had our full group out there.”
1. Ridley (8-0)
2. Garnet Valley (7-1)
3. Interboro (7-1)
4. Glen Mills (7-2)
5. Strath Haven (6-2)
6. Marple Newtown (6-3)
7. Haverford (6-3)