By Paul Vanderveer, County Press
September 08, 2010
“It was a good game overall,” veteran Marple coach Ray Giontacommented afterwards. “Our new quarterback did a good job directing the offense in his first game, and our defense was stingy.”
Marple began their conquest immediately upon returning the opening kickoff to their own 37 yard line. The Tigers used thirteen running plays to reach the Sun Valley end zone, with Moat lugging the ball on eight of those thrusts and scoring from the three yard line. Eight minutes were chewed off the clock before Sun Valley was to get their hands on the ball for the first time this season.
By the early minutes of the second quarter, it appeared that Marple was about to score once more, as seven rushes enabled them to reach the Vanguards’ five yard line. Another touchdown here, and the rest of the game figured to get ugly pretty quickly.
But not so fast, said the Valley defense. On a fourth down play, Ridinger’s attempt to pick up a first down was denied by linebackers Matt Johnson and Seth Snyder.
Inspired by the goal-line stand, the home team played on even terms with the Tigers for the remainder of the first half. Sparking some movement by the Valley offense was diminutive tailback Ryan Riddle, who stormed repeatedly into the heart of the Marple defense to pick up a couple first downs. Intermission arrived with the Tigers on top by a mere 7-0.
Given that narrow deficit, there was reason for the home fans to be hopeful as the Vanguards received the second half kickoff. But an untimely penalty and a shanked punt gave Marple excellent field position in the early going, and the Tigers soon punched their second touchdown across on a nine yard sweep by Ryan White.
Leading by a 14-0 count, Marple had the situation under control. Dioguardi was to put the icing on the cake with touchdown runs of 38 and 28 yards in the final stanza against a game but tiring Valley defense. The final scoring scamper was indeed a thing of beauty, as Dioguardi followed his blockers perfectly down field, and then weaved through the last line of defense to reach the end zone.
The Tigers were able to accomplish their victory without the services of senior back Ryan Duffy, whose expected return to action from injury this week will give Gionta that much more depth in a fine stable of runners. But “depth” in the overall sense is still a key concern for the Tigers.
“We played a lot of guys both ways,” Gionta pointed out. “We are strong in terms of our first fifteen or so players. We’ve got to keep on developing some players in the next group.”
Some of those two way performers for Marple include linemen and linebackers such as Brian Kelly, Timothy Fite, Peter Finegan, Christopher Kurkian, and Christian Whiteside. This mostly senior aggregation provides Gionta with plenty of experience and size in the trenches.
“We got a bit lazy on offense in the first half,” said Whiteside. “We picked things up in the second half. We don’t look to run up big scores-we try to control the ball and the clock. We have some veteran guys on this team, and we’re comfortable with our style on both offense and defense.”
Other Central coaches have tabbed the Tigers as an upper echelon Central squad as the season gets underway. How do Whiteside and his mates view their prospects?
“We’ll watch film tomorrow, and we won’t make some of the same mistakes again,” Whiteside vowed. “We can have a very good season.”
That would be in keeping with that final Marple football trait mentioned above.