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Defense helps Marple Newtown pick off a victory

By 25 October, 2010August 23rd, 2012No Comments

By Matt Chandik, Delaware County Daily Times
October 25, 2010

Lower Merion quarterback Desmond Ellis had a difficult time reading Marple Newtown’s pass coverage Saturday.

The Tigers had five interceptions and returned two for touchdowns as Marple rolled to a 41-6 Central League victory. Cornerback Joe Pham intercepted Ellis three times, including one that resulted in a 43-yard return for a touchdown.

“I saw (Ellis) turn his shoulders and so I just jumped it,” Pham said. “We played pretty well.”

Marple’s defensive line set the tone as it stifled Lower Merion’s running game, holding the Aces (0-8, 0-7) to 63 rushing yards on 32 carries. The Tigers (3-5, 2-5) also sacked Ellis twice.

“(The pass rush) was the reason for the five picks,” said senior running back/defensive back Ryan White, who had two rushing touchdowns and an interception return for a score. “The defensive line was getting great pressure, so it forced the quarterback into making tough decisions. Give credit to the D-line.”

White opened the scoring with a 9-yard scamper with 5:29 left in the first quarter. He added a second-quarter touchdown as he took a sweep on 3rd and 14, made a cutback and strolled into the end zone untouched.

Lower Merion’s inability to get off the field in third- and fourth-down situations was a crucial factor in the game’s outcome. The Aces often put the Tigers in third-and-long situations, but were unable to come up with the necessary stops.

Sometimes stopping Marple on third down wasn’t enough, as the Tigers were able to convert on fourth down. After Jimmy Chimekas’ 1-yard touchdown plunge cut Marple’s lead to 21-6 with 10:34 left in the third, it appeared as if the momentum was headed to the Aces,

The Tigers had other plans, however, as Ryan Duffy exploded up the middle on a 23-yard dive play on fourth-and-two to restore Marple’s three-touchdown lead.

Duffy netted a game-high 119 rushing yards on 16 carries, but he wasn’t Marple’s only contributor on the ground. Cimirrow Moat tallied 75 yards on 10 carries and added a 19-yard reception and White totaled 50 yards on six carries.

“We had lost four in a row, so we definitely needed a win,” Marple head coach Ray Gionta said. “I thought we executed on offense and we did what we needed to do on defense. The kids played well. It was a good bounce-back after a couple weeks where things haven’t gone our way.”