By Mike Mreczko, Delaware County Daily Times
September 25, 2010
For two carries.
Once Amara Kamara and the Royals got going, there was no looking back except to see how much space they had from the nearest defender.
Kamara ran for 196 yards on just nine carries, three of which resulted in touchdowns, as the Royals beat the Tigers, 25-0, at Harry R. Harvey Field.
“Our confidence is up,” Kamara said. “We’re just having having fun playing football.”
After being held for no gain on his first attempt of the night, Kamara spun off Marple defenders for a 27 yard gain. On his next attempt, the 6’2″ 220 pound tailback took it 65 yards for his first score.
“One play at a time,” the senior said. “Maybe, maybe not, we might get a big run like we did today.”
The shuthout avenged a 23-0 blanking the Royals received at the hands of the Tigers last season, when they lost nine games, including seven Central League contests, for the first time since 1987. A year after the offense struggled trying to spread things out, the Royals have rediscovered their identity and discovered a few new talents as well.
“We are a power running football team; we’ve been that way for 20 years,” Upper Darby coach Rich Gentile said. “What we have now that I haven’t had in those years is speed.”
The team hasn’t had a back quite like Kamara either. While other teams mix different runners to give different looks, Kamara is thunder and lightning rolled into one.
“Amara is amazing I don’t even know what else to say about him,” Gentile said. “There are very few backs that you meet that will run over you and run away from you and Amara does both.”
He does not do it alone though, as the Royals racked up 331 rushing yards total on the night.
“I’m just happy that Upper Darby is playing Upper Darby football again,” said Corey Harrison, who contributed 54 yards on the ground and another 17 with a pair of receptions. “The way we work out, the way we run sprints, everything is different and I love it.”
A big difference is the improvement in the play of quarterback Mike McGee, who completed six of his nine pass attempts for 57 yards and kept the Marple defense honest all night.
“My arm is lot better, lot more accurate, got another year under my belt so it feels good,” the senior signal caller said.
“McGee was never a bad quarterback,” Harrison said. “All McGee ever needed was time and confidence and we’ve given him that.”
Marple Newtown will have more confidence in their passing game as well after Jamie Ridinger completed the team’s first pass of the season to tight end Matt Gregory for 12 yards in the first half. The pair hooked up for a 21 yard gain in the second half as well.
“I thought he played better and he played better as the game went on,” Marple coach Ray Gionta said. “We got a couple of passes completed so that was a good thing.”
Marple gained plenty of ground as well, with fullback Ryan Duffy gaining 47 yards in the first quarter and halfback Cimirrow Moat totaling a team-high 111 yards. It was tough for either to keep up with Kamara and the other Royal rushers.
“Just tried my hardest just playing all four quarters,” said Moat.
The Tigers attributed mistakes on offense, including four fumbles and several blocking miscues, for coming up short but remain confident those will be corrected.
“We should be able to bounce back,” said Duffy, who led all rushers with 16 carries in the contest. “We just got to take this one practice at a time during the week Get better each day in practice and take it one day at a time and focus on the next game.”
Fortunately for Marple, they no longer have to focus on Kamara, who was able to power through even when the Tigers loaded the lines or had made contact.
“It feels good because it gives me and my team and opportunity to score,” Kamara said. “If we got nine guys on defense (on me), we got other guys to run the ball.”
As impressive as he is with the ball in his hands, Kamara is just as powerful and even more dedicated to when possession belongs to the opponent. As a linebacker for the Royals the senior takes pride in his defense and takes lessons from his defending to the offensive huddle.
“I actually know what a linebacker is thinking so what I try to do is get as much yards as I can and try to get into a linebackers head,” Kamara said. “I’m a defensive player.”
The same tenacity and aggressiveness that is preached on defense is what the Royals have instilled in their offense as well.
“It’s more of a physical here we come in your face kind of game,” Gentile said. “Upper Darby kids are those kinds of kids anyway so it feels better for them.”