By Christopher Vito, Delaware County Times
August 28, 2008
NEWTOWN SQUARE – The grass stains on Phil Graziano’s practice pants tell a story. So do the bruises on Steve Reynolds’ shins.
Two years removed from a District One Class AAA appearance, the Tigers are hungry to earn a return trip and the respect of their league peers in the process.
What will it take to attain all of that?
Having Stephens getting as many touches as he will should be a boon for Gionta, who graduated his top two rushers. The Tigers also boast Graziano, who had 69 carries for 323 yards last season, and Dan Giordano, another senior captain and backfield threat.
Gionta’s only concern is that he has enough fresh bodies to block for his running backs.
Tigers at a Glance
- 2007 RECORD: 7-4 (5-4, Central League).
- HEAD COACH: Ray Gionta (Sixth season at Marple Newtown: 33-22; Overall: 92-86-1).
- STAFF: Lou D’Alonzo, Christo Garavelas, Larry Kelly, Nick Reynolds, Mike Doyle, Steve Cull, Matt Cull, Ted Carotenuto, Bob DiSands and Jim Allsman.
- KEY RETURNEES: Dan Giordano (HB-LB) 6-0, 214; Phil Graziano (HB-DB) 5-10, 188; Steve Reynolds (C-DE) 6-3, 202; Kevin Lopez (G-DE) 6-2, 218; Jon McKeighan (OG-DE) 5-10, 190.
- TOP NEWCOMERS: Ron Alf (SE-DB) 5-8, 142; Kevin Johnson (QB-DB) 6-1, 182; Carl Kasarsky (TE-LB) 6-2, 178; Nick Stephens (FB-LB) 6-1, 220;Kevan Strigle (OT-DE) 6-1, 255; Pete Finegan (OT-DE) 6-3, 222.
- OUTLOOK: Marple Newtown will run the ball down the opposition’s throat. That’s not to say it isn’t adept at passing, but its offensive line is stout and its strength is in numbers, with three potential starting running backs. The most telling number of all is five, as in the number of starters returning from last season. That inexperience might be too much to overcome.
- NOTABLE: Though they wear orange and black uniforms, the Tigers will look plenty green this year. Their 45-man roster features 21 sophomores, all of whom are spending their first full seasons with the varsity club in 2008.