By Josh Kipple, Eye of the Tigers
October 08, 2010
With lessons learned from the close game against Garnet Valley the previous week, the Marple Newtown Tigers were ambitious to take on another challenging Central League opponent on the road at Strath Haven Friday night. The Tigers had some explosive plays on all sides of the ball, but eventually lost to the Panthers by a final score of 35-13.
Strath Haven put the pressure on the Tigers early, scoring on their first two offensive drives of the game. First, Panther QB Bryan Downs took the ball across the goal line himself from the 1-yard line. When they got the ball back on their next series, they called only two plays before running back Thurman Fortune scored on a 52-yard run to make it 14-0. The Tigers were forced to punt the ball on their first drive of the 2nd quarter, but would quickly get the ball back. The Marple Newtown special teams charged down the field towards returner Brent Collins and caused him to lose focus just enough to lose sight of the ball and fumble the return. Ken Smith fell on the ball and set the Tigers up with great field position on the Strath Haven 30-yard line. They could not convert on 4th down, however, and turned the ball back over to the Panthers on downs. The next Strath Haven drive did not go as smoothly as the first two, coming to a quick end when Ryan White forced a fumble and recovered it on the Panther 29-yard line. This huge spark of momentum was enough to propel the Tigers into the end zone. QuarterbackJamie Ridinger completed a 24-yard touchdown pass to White on a huge 4th and 17 play. Strath Haven was able to respond just before halftime when Downs threw an 8-yard pass that Chaz Fisher caught in the end zone, bringing the score to 21-6.
As has been the case for most of this season, Marple Newtown came into the 2nd half with newfound energy and a refreshed attitude. The Tigers were able to drive the ball 66 yards all the way to the end zone on their first offensive drive of the half. Ridinger ran the ball up the middle from the Panther 2-yard line and, after the Anthony Nicolardi extra point was converted, the Tigers found themselves within one score of Strath Haven. The Panthers immediately struck again on another big rushing play when running back James Griffin ran the ball 43 yards for a touchdown. The Tigers put together a few big drives towards the end of the game, but all of them ended on unsuccessful 4th down conversions. Strath Haven put one more score up on the board before the contest came to an end. The Marple Newtown defense forced another fumble while the Panthers were trying to run out the clock. The Tigers were able to run a play, but time ran out on them before they could get any more points.
Ryan Duffy had the longest rushing the play of the night, a 20-yard run, and finished the game with the most rushing yards, 83 total. Duffy also now leads all running backs on the season with 420 yards. In the receiving department, Ryan White now has 100 total yards on the year. The Marple Newtown Defense held the Panthers to just 8 total passing yards and forced 2 fumbles.
The Tigers (2-4, 1-4) return home to Harry Harvey Stadium and will face-off against Ridley (6-0, 5-0) in the Channel 6 ABC Action News’ High School Huddle Game of the Week Friday night.