October 14, 2008
Marple Newtown came back from a first-quarter deficit to beat visiting Lower Merion, 14-6, for its home-coming game on Friday night.
Billy Chimekas got LM on the board early in the first, hauling in a pass from Connor Foote for a 24-yard connection. MN fought back late in the second quarter, with quarterback Kevin Johnson finding running back Nick Stephensfor a 14-yard pass and score. Adam Fender gave the Tigers a 7-6 lead with the PAT.
On its first possession of the second half, MN made two first downs in as many plays, but after that the teams traded punts. Then MN embarked upon its second scoring drive, with Phil Graziano motoring left for a big gain, followed by another up the middle by Mario Dioguardi. The drive paid dividends when Stephens ran it in from the five, with 4:27 left in the quarter.
Graziano later returned a punt deep into LM territory. On that drive, early in the fourth quarter, the Tigers were in the red zone, but a holding penalty took them back to the 20. After an incompletion, Fender attempted a 37-yard field goal to make it a two-score game. The kick had the distance, but was wide left. This set the stage for the strange play of the evening. After Lower Merion went three-and-out, Justin Sparkman went back to punt. The snap squirted through his legs and towards the end zone. With a pair of Tigers in hot pursuit, Sparkman picked it up, scurried to his right, and punted a low spiral from his run. Near mid-field, Graziano couldn’t handle it, there was a fight for the ball, and then it was recovered – by Sparkman. Lower Merion couldn’t capitalize, though, and the second half ended scoreless.
Graziano ended with 110 yards rushing, followed by Dioguardi’s 56.
“Phil’s coming along, and we’re working Bryan Duffy and Mario Dioguardi,” said head coach Ray Gionta of his ground game. “We got Nick Stephenssome more work, too.”
MN (2-5) won its second straight game, and tenth straight against Lower Merion.
During homecoming festivities, it was an all-athletic court, as football playerSteve Reynolds was named king and girls’ basketball guard Bobbi Caprice was crowned queen.