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Depth May Be a Problem as Marple Newtown Looks for Another Successful Season

By 27 August, 2010August 23rd, 2012No Comments

By Dan McCarty, County Press
August 27, 2010

Ray Gionta returns for his eighth season of coaching at Marple Newtown. The Tigers ended their 2009 season with a record of 7-4 overall and 6-3 in the Central League. They fell to Owen J. Roberts in the first round of the playoffs.

Marple Newtown only suffers a few losses this year. Gone is offensive tackle Kevin Strigle who now plays at the collegiate level at nearby Widener University. The Tigers also lost their starting quarterback, Kevin Johnson as well as tight end/linebacker Carl Kasarski. With only three losses, the Tigers should not be all that affected. Nevertheless, all key players will need to be replaced.

“We’ll have to replace these guys,” said Gionta. “But guys graduate and others step up. It happens every year.”

The Tigers return a wide array of players for many different positions. Leading the way for the veterans is a 6-2 260 pound senior offensive tackle/ defensive tackle, Christian Whiteside who is a three-year two-way starter. The 5-10, 190 pound Ryan Duffy is another three-year starter at fullback. Another two-way starter is a 5-11 170 pound senior halfback/defensive back, Ryan White. Other returning starters include senior offensive guard/linebacker Brian Kelly (6-0, 200 pounds), senior center/defensive end Pete Finnegan (6-3, 255 pounds), senior defensive back Mario Dioguardi (5-8, 180 pounds), senior tight end/ defensive tackle Matt Gregory (6-0, 180 pounds) and senior offensive tackle/ defensive tackle TJ Fite. Tight end/defensive end/punter Billy Weaverling(6-0, 185 pounds) will become one of the new quarterbacks.

Several key newcomers are also being welcomed to the Marple Newtown roster. They are junior safety/halfback Moat Cimarro (5-9, 160 pounds) who started in three games last year, junior Jamie Ridinger(6-0, 180 pounds) who will also share the quarterback slot, junior offensive guard/linebacker Sean Ridinger (6-0, 185 pounds), junior split end/defensive back Joey Pham (5-9, 150 pounds), junior fullback/outside linebacker Ryan Schollenberger (6-0, 170 pounds) and junior halfback/outside linebacker Tom Antista (5-10, 160 pounds).

With so many returning players on various positions, the Tigers are looking to have a great year. However, one issue they always face is their depth.

“We have eight seniors who have played for two years,” said Gionta. “We have three key linemen on offense. Running backs are back. On defense, we have lineman back and outside linebackers. We always have depth problems. Injuries could be tough to handle. We have to develop younger kids. We have a new quarterback. That is always exciting and challenging.”

Marple Newtown will kick off its regular season Friday, September 3, at Sun Valley High School. It has a tough schedule ahead both at home and on the road against the many competitive Central League schools.

“We’re looking to be competitive in the Central League,” said Gionta. It’s tough with Garnet Valley, Ridley, Conestoga and Strath Haven. They’re all playoff teams. All teams will be better.”