By Rick O’Brien, Philadelphia Inquirer
September 15, 2011
Fans of run-happy offenses should make it a point to attend Friday night’s Central League showdown between Strath Haven and host Marple Newtown.
The Panthers (2-0 overall, 1-0 league) and Tigers (2-0, 1-0) each employ a Delaware wing-T scheme, with passing attempts few and far between.
Here is a closer look at the game:
Coaches. Strath Haven’s Kevin Clancy has an overall record of 268-88-2, with a 201-49 mark in 21 seasons with the Panthers. For Marple Newtown,Ray Gionta has a 111-102-1 overall record.
Last year. Strath Haven rolled to a 35-13 win in Wallingford, avenging a 14-7 loss in 2009.
Quick fact. Clancy and Gionta coached together at Archbishop Carroll, with Clancy as the boss and Gionta tutoring the offensive linemen.
One-two punch. For Strath Haven, fullback Andrew Crawford (15 carries for 175 yards and four touchdowns) and halfback James Griffin (9 for 104, 1) have combined for 279 rushing yards and five scores.
Dominant. Marple Newtown beat Sun Valley and Central League rival Penncrest by a combined score of 83-0.
Dynamo. The Tigers’ Cimirrow Moat, a 5-foot-8, 175-pound fullback, has rushed 31 times for 452 yards and seven touchdowns. Last year, as a halfback, he gained nearly 600 yards.
Solid unit. Strath Haven’s offensive line is made up of center Henry Barnett (6-2, 200), guards Kevin Sherry (6-3, 200) and Brady Logan (6-0, 225), tackles P.J. Plummer (6-0, 285) and Drew Platt (6-0, 250), and tight end Ira Ferguson (6-0, 195).
Major success. The Panthers totaled 380 yards rushing in a 42-6 triumph against Upper Moreland and 408 yards in last week’s 35-0 victory over Central League foe Radnor.
Stalwarts. Marple Newtown’s offensive line consists of center Connor Breslin (6-0, 190), guards Sean Ridinger (6-0, 195) and Chris Kurkian (5-6, 180), tackles Kenny Smith (6-3, 225) and Tony Desiderio (6-2, 215), and tight end Ryan Furst (6-3, 190).
Stingy. Strath Haven’s 3-4 defense is spearheaded by tackle Plummer, outside linebacker Brian Vendetta, free safety Griffin, strong safety Tevon Howie, and cornerback Taron Howie.
Two shutouts. The leaders of the Tigers’ 4-3 defense include tackles Kurkian and Desiderio, end Smith, outside linebacker Furst, inside linebackerRyan Schollenberger, and cornerback Joey Pham.
Numbers game. After having 30 to 32 players last year, Marple Newtown has 52 this season.
Pick: Strath Haven, 21-7.