By Al Thompson, Delaware County Daily Times
October 26, 2009
The difference was the Tigers took advantage of their opportunities and the Royals could not.
Marple raised its record to 6-2 overall and 5-2 in Central League play after shutting out Upper Darby, 23-0. The Royals fell to 1-7 overall and 1-6 in league play.
Coach Rich Gentile’s offense turned the ball over five times (four fumbles, one interception), with most of the damage occurring after decent drives.
“We did have our opportunities and I really think it’s like a microcosm of the way the year’s gone,” Gentile said. “I don’t know. What did we have, four turnovers tonight? And a lot of them happened after we got positive yards. And that’s what’s happened to us for a majority of the year. It’s impossible to do anything offensively if you turn the ball over.”
Marple turned those extra opportunities into long drives as the Tigers churned out 335 yards on the ground, led by Ryan White, who raced past Upper Darby’s defense for 203 yards on 13 carries and a touchdown.
Ryan Duffy also came up big for Marple, rushing 19 times for 100 yards.
White, a junior, also caught two passes for 22 yards and one score. For good measure, the two-way standout intercepted a pass.
“He (White) had a nice day,” coach Ray Gionta said. “When we get him the ball on offense he’s been doing a nice job for us. He’s been doing it all year long. Today he got some opportunities for some long runs.”
Gionta said he was not concerned that the wet conditions would help Upper Darby. He said he felt Upper Darby is a good team that just needs to harness its talent.
“That’s a good football program,” Gionta said. “It’s been good for a lot of years. They are struggling a little bit now, but those kids didn’t quit and we didn’t come here expecting an easy game.”
Robert Cornish and Mike Wallace combined for 108 rushing yards on 21 carries to lead Upper Darby.
A good example of the Royals’ effort came in the closing moments of the game.
Upper Darby had a long drive stopped at the Tigers’ 1-yard line with just under two minutes to play.
It was a frustrating situation for the Royals emotionally, knowing their best opportunity to score had just slipped through their hands.
There was too much time for Marple to run out the clock. On the second running play, White broke free for a long run and appeared to have a clear path to the end zone.
Royals safety John Townsend chased White down and made a shoe-string tackle at the 6-yard line, saving a touchdown and some Royals pride.
“I don’t doubt these kids’ effort one bit and it showed,” Gentile said. “In all games they don’t quit. Townsend, who is our safety, ran that guy down at the end of the game. He didn’t need to do that. The game was over, but he did it. I think that’s an example of the kids I have.”