By Josh Kipple, Eye of the Tigers
October 16, 2010
The Marple Newtown Tigers returned home from a long road trip to take on the top ranked Ridley Green Raiders in front of their fans amidst homecoming celebrations at Harry Harvey Stadium Friday night. The Tigers kept it close for most of the game, but eventually fell to the visitors by the final score of 46-21.
The orange and black got the ball first and put together a powerful drive that lasted almost 10 minutes and ended with a touchdown. The Tigers faced 3 separate 4th downs on their opening drive and converted them all. The last 4th down play featured new starting quarterback Billy Weaverling running the football over the goal line to give Marple Newtown the early lead 7-0. Ridley responded by scoring on their first offensive drive of the evening. Green Raiders running back Jalen Randolph ran the ball into the end zone from 8 yards out to tie the game. After Marple Newtown went 3 and out on their next series, Weaverling punted the ball to Ridley returner Dion Shaw who ran it 80+ yards all the way for a touchdown. In a bizarre turn of events, Shaw saw that he was in the clear and dropped the football at the 1-yard line as he ran in for the score. Luckily, his teammate Randolph was running with him in stride, noticed the flub and possible live ball sitting on the edge of the goal line, and reacted quickly by picking the ball up and carrying it into the end zone. Towards the end of the first half, Ridley was on the move again and looking to go up by two scores, but the Marple Newtown defense came up with a huge, game-changing play when Randolph had the ball knocked out of his hands. Tigers defenseman Brian Kelly caught the fumble out of mid-air and returned it to the Ridley 32-yard line. Marple Newtown had less than 2 minutes to work with, but they were determined and tied the score just before halftime when Ryan White ran the ball 25 yards for a touchdown.
The Green Raiders came into the 2nd half firing on all cylinders and were able to retake the lead after Shahaid Smith ran 13 yards for a touchdown. Ridley kicker Kelton Heverly missed the extra point, so the opponents only found themselves up by 6 points. The Tigers took this opportunity to silence the critics, putting together another solid drive that ended with them taking the lead 21-20. White once again took the ball into the end zone, this time on an 8 yard run. The Green Raiders needed only a minute to respond and took the lead from the Tigers again on a trick option pass play when wide receiver Norm Donkin completed it to Dion Shaw in the end zone. Ridley failed a 2-point conversion attempt, leaving the score at the end of the 3rd quarter at 26-21 in favor of the Green Raiders. Marple Newtown was poised to keep the fight up, but just could not convert in a 4th quarter that would be dominated by Ridley. Smith scored three more times in the final quarter to give the Green Raiders a commanding lead that Marple Newtown would not be able to recover from.
Ryan White was the star of the night on offense, rushing for 117 yards and an average of 9 yards per carry. The Marple Newtown defense forced 4 fumbles and recovered one that the offense would turn into points. Christian Whiteside led the defense in tackles with 6 for the night, and now has 45 this season.
The Tigers (2-5, 1-5) hit the road again and will take on the Lower Merion Aces (0-7, 0-6) next Saturday afternoon.