By Al Thompson, Delaware County Daily Time
September 17, 2010
The game was played in a steady drizzle, and neither team could hold onto the ball very well, combining for 12 fumbles with Penncrest putting the ball on the turf eight times, losing three.
The Lions’ first fumble was the costliest.
On third down and the ball at their 46-yard line, the Lions fumbled the snap. Marple safety Cimirrow Moat scooped up the loose ball and raced 40 yards for the score and a 7-0 lead midway through the first quarter.
The Lions (0-3) roared back, scoring two touchdowns in the second quarter. Both scores came on short runs by quarterback Beau Difiore.
The lead was shortlived as the Tigers (2-1) clawed back to tie it up, 14-14, on a Ryan White 7-yard run with 1:26 left before halftime.
Neither team could move the ball in third quarter; Penncrest missed an opportunity on the opening kickoff when Justin Diciocco returned the ball to the Tigers’ 25-yard line only to go three-and-out.
Lions coach Paul Graham said it was tough watching his team play well only to stop themselves with fumbles.
“Obviously it’s frustrating when you put the ball on the ground,” Graham said. “Everybody knows one of the No. 1 indicators to winning the ball game — after the score — is turnovers. When you lose the turnover battle that badly, you’re not going to win many games. It was a seven-point difference … we can’t turn the ball over. I keep telling these guys, we have to get better every single week and not make those mistakes.”
Marple Newtown coach Ray Gionta said he would not blame his team’s four fumbles on the weather.
“I think it was more of a lack of execution than the weather,” Gionta said. “They had some turnovers, we had some turnovers. We had some sloppy play and they had some sloppy play for whatever reason. I think we’ll get better as we go along.”
Both teams kept the ball on the ground. Duffy who rushed for 111 yards on 20 carries led Marple Newtown. White gained 54 yards on nine carries.
Juhwan Young led the Lions with 127 yards on 23 carries. Penncrest completed only one pass, and that was with just under two minutes left in the game.
The Tigers did not complete any of their three attempts.
Marple offensive tackle Christian Whiteside said he knew coming in the game would be won in the trenches, it was all the fumbles that surprised him.
“We obviously have to get our offense down and stop the fumbles,” Whiteside said. “We’ve got to stay relaxed. As the game goes on we get more relaxed. (Relaxing) is just one of the things we have to work on.”
Graham said he was happy to see his team bounce back after giving up a touchdown on its opening drive and will use it as motivation as the Lions try to earn their first victory.
“We got down 7-0 early, and we battled back,” Graham said. “They had the one good long drive in the first half and it was 14-14 at the half. It was anyone’s game. We get the big kick return to start the third quarter and we weren’t able to capitalize. In those situations we have to be able to punch the ball in.”