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Bryant’s big catch gives Radnor enough to hold off Marple Newtown

By 6 November, 2010August 23rd, 2012No Comments

By Christopher Vito, Delaware County Daily Times
November 06, 2010

RADNOR – The play wasn’t supposed to look like that.

When Radnor stepped to the line of scrimmage late in the fourth quarter, coach Tom Ryan had called one play … then switched to another. He must’ve seen something in Marple Newtown’s defense.

Whatever it was, it worked.

Seventy-five yards later, TaJae Bryant glanced over his shoulder and saw nothing but green.

Radnor quarterback Robert Collins connected with Bryant for the game-changing reception, taking a lead with five minutes to play and holding onto it in a 28-21 Central League victory over Marple Friday night at Prevost Field.

“When did I know it was a touchdown?” Bryant said. “When the ball was in my hands.”

Added Collins: “It’s what we’ve been working on. Even with TaJae out of practice, I knew I was going to TaJae on that one.”

The truth is, Bryant has been a phantom lately at Radnor’s practices – not by his own choice.

Hampered by injury, the dual-threat junior was a game-time decision for the Red Raiders. Bryant made the most of his time on the field, rushing six times for 42 yards and hauling in the one pass that made all the difference for the Raiders (4-6, 4-5).

“It feels good to be back,” Bryant said, smiling.

Here’s how Bryant helped Radnor stop its losing skid at two: Trailing 21-20, the Raiders were mired in a third-and-15 situation at their 25-yard line. Ryan called for Collins to make a pass. The coach checked down and called something altogether different.

Ryan wasn’t surrendering play names afterward, but whatever the winning play is called, it’s certainly a keeper.

“I turned around and the ball was in the air and headed for me,” Bryant said. “Rob put it right there for me.”

The Collins-to-Bryant heroics almost didn’t come to pass.

Marple Newtown (4-6, 3-6) loaded up the box with 10 on the play, putting running back/free safety Cimarrow Moat in the middle of the field and about 10 yards back from the line of scrimmage. Moat was the Tigers’ last resort. So once Bryant got past Moat, it was off to the races.

“I read the quarterback real good, I thought,” Moat said. “I jumped the route. I tried to knock it down and I thought I had a chance at it. I just didn’t execute it the way I wanted.”

While Moat (18 carries, 144 yards) had the big game for the Tigers, it was quarterback Billy Weaverling who put them ahead temporarily in the fourth quarter. Weaverling’s 5-yard sneak, his second rushing score, put the Tigers up, 21-20, with less than six minutes to play.

It didn’t last. Bryant made sure of that.

“And he’s only a junior,” said Ryan. “It’s a great thing knowing we have TaJae for one more season.

“I think the touchdown speaks to how well Rob and TaJae work together. They’ve been limited in reps for a while because of TaJae’s injury, but Rob knew where (Bryant) was going to be and he put the pass right on his hands.”

Also for Radnor, Vinny Caniglia rushed for 80 yards and one touchdown on 21 carries and Tim Wilson racked up 123 yards of total offense and a rushing score.