By ANTHONY J. SANFILIPPO, Delaware County Daily Times
November 14, 2009
The speedy rusher had been tuning up the opposition by averaging more than 200 yards on the ground per game.
With a little more than a minute remaining, the Tigers had him stifled, allowing just 68 yards on 17 carries.
From there though, Brumfield was a beast.
In the final 13 minutes he carried the ball a dozen times for 181 yards and turned what was a very close PIAA District One Class AAA quarterfinal into a convincing win.
Brumfield scored four touchdowns to lead the Wildcats into the second round by a final of 34-7. They await the winner of today’s contest between Interboro and Academy Park in the semifinals next week.
It was a disheartening loss for Marple Newtown, which seemed to have the perfect gameplan for the first 35 minutes.
They controlled the ball, limited Brumfield’s touches, and were able to move the chains, almost at will.
Were it not for some ill-timed penalties and a costly interception just before the half, the Tigers would have been well out in front.
But, it was all for naught, as Owen J. Roberts made the Tigers pay for their mistakes, and then allowed their 2,000-yard back to take over.
Of the 335 total yards the Wildcats amassed, Brumfield was responsible for 297 of them. He finished with 247 yards on the ground on 29 carries and threw a perfect halfback option pass for 50 yards in the first quarter that led to the first Owen J. Roberts touchdown.
“If the game were to continue to be close, then I think we would have been able to continue to control (Brumfield),” Marple coach Ray Gionta said. “But once the cat got out of the bag then all heck broke loose.”
Brumfield scored two touchdowns in the first half, but was limited to just 24 yards on eight carries.
In the second half, he had touchdown runs of 77 and 17 yards to put away the Tigers (7-4).
Statistically, the first half and the second half were polar opposites. Marple ran 29 plays in the first half to Roberts’ 17. The tigers outgained the Wildcats 167-99. They held a 7-2 advantage in first downs, and most importantly, they dominated time of possession, holding the ball for 17 minutes compared to seven minutes for Owen J. Roberts.
And yet, they trailed by a touchdown at the half.
That’s because Marple couldn’t take advantage of a first and goal opportunity, and two killer penalties pushed them further away from the end zone before Kevin Johnson’s pass was intercepted by Cory Fryer and returned 77 yards deep into Marple territory.
Two plays later, Brumfield put the Wildcats ahead for good.
“It started to go awry when we had the ball first and goal and the penalties pushed us back to the point where we didn’t want to leave those points off the board,” Gionta said. “We executed a wheel play earlier and we felt we could get it again. Our receiver was open and we just weren’t able to execute it. That’s obviously where things started to turn. We committed too many penalties and can’t win football games like that. We were fine all year long, and the last two weeks, for some reason, we had too many penalties and too many turnovers.”
Johnson said he could tell that the spirits were broken during halftime, even though they only trailed by one score.
“When we let them score that second touchdown, people started to get down – just like last week,” Johnson said, referring to their unexpected loss to Radnor in the regular season finale. “Last week, we lost to a team that we were better than and this week we end up losing by too much to a team that isn’t (as good as the score would indicate).
“That definitely shut us down. We had a lot of guys who tried to keep it positive, but it didn’t work out.”
In the second half, it was a different story.
Owen J. Roberts ran seven more plays then Marple (31-24), outgained them (234-57), had a 9-3 first down advantage and swung the time of possession around (13:23-10:37).
Marple’s lone score was a crazy play late in the first quarter.
The Tigers lined up for a field goal, but Adam Fender’s 25-yard attempt was blocked. The loose ball was first touched by a Wildcats’ player, setting off a wild scrum. It was then recovered by Marple running back Ryan Duffy, who fumbled it back to Owen J. Roberts. With the ball bouncing around inside a huge pile of players, it finally squirted out toward the sideline where Marple tight end Carl Kasarsky – while lying on his stomach – blindly flipped the ball backwards in hopes of getting it to a teammate. Johnson, who was the holder on the play, caught the bal in the air and scampered 11 yards for a touchdown.
Unfortunately, the Tigers couldn’t capitalize on the momentum that swung their way after the crazy play.