By John Lohn, Delaware County Daily Times
November 11, 2009
Although Marple Newtown was upended by Radnor last weekend, 24-20, the Tigers earned the sixth seed for the postseason, their second playoff appearance. The reward for qualifying is a Friday night matchup with Owen J. Roberts (9-1), out of the Pioneer Athletic Conference. The Wildcats feature standout running back Ryan Brumfield, who has churned out more than 2,000 yards this season.
In the loss to Radnor, Marple took a 20-10 lead, only to allow a pair of fourth-quarter scores. Still, coach Ray Gionta, a recent inductee into the Delaware County Sports Hall of Fame, is confident his team will bounce back and turn in a solid showing on the road.
“You have to focus on what’s ahead,” Gionta said. “We’re not going to look behind. We’re proud of what we’ve accomplished and how far we’ve come. Going into the season, if everything went right, we would have been happy to sneak into the postseason. We’ve exceeded those expectations.”
The Tigers have benefited from the leadership of Kevin Johnson at quarterback and a multi-pronged rushing attack, fueled by Ryan Duffy andRyan White. The offensive line has been anchored by Kevan Strigle and the defense, allowing 11 points per game, has been headlined by Carl Kasarskyat linebacker.
As for Academy Park, it is making its third playoff appearance, but first since qualifying in 1999 and 2000. The Knights locked up their berth with a 20-3 decision of West Chester East last weekend. That victory snapped a two-game losing streak and handed Jason Vosheski’s squad some momentum entering the playoffs.
Next for Academy Park is a rematch with Del Val League rival Interboro, which just wrapped up a 12th consecutive league championship. In the regular-season meeting, the Knights dropped a 23-6 decision. Vosheski has been pleased with the play of quarterback Brian McDonald, running back Taron Mitchell and linebacker Joe Richburg. As a receiver and defensive back, Kabongo Bukasa has been a two-way standout.
“I’m extremely excited and I think the kids are, too,” Vosheski said of the playoffs. “You could see it in practice and after last week’s game. That’s the part of the game that’s really satisfying. I don’t know if we have to be perfect against Interboro, but we have to be disciplined, tough and smart. We have to play within ourselves.”