By Rick O’Brien, Philadelphia Inquirer
September 16, 2011
Though Marple Newtown’s defense had pitched shutouts in the team’s first two games of the season, many were eager to see how the unit would fare against a high-level, playoff-caliber squad.
The host Tigers had the chance to flex their muscles on Friday night, taking on perennial Central League power Strath Haven at Harry R. Harvey Stadium. The Panthers came in averaging 38 points and 394 yards rushing per game.
Marple Newtown allowed only a third-quarter touchdown, kept fullback Andrew Crawford and halfback James Griffin in check most of the way, and notched an impressive 24-7 victory in Newtown Square.
Cimirrow Moat, a 5-foot-8, 175-pound fullback, sparked the Tigers’ wing-T offense by carrying 21 times for 139 yards and two touchdowns. Slot receiver-halfback Joe Pham added 59 yards on seven attempts.
Strath Haven, also employing a wing-T scheme, finished with 202 yards rushing, on 41 attempts, and 20 passing.
Marple Newtown’s defensive leaders included tackles Chris Kurkian and Anthony Desiderio, end Kenneth Smith, linebackers Parker Maas and Ryan Schellenberger, and backs Moat, Pham, and Nicholas Ciarrocchi.
The Tigers (3-0, 2-0 Central League) scored on their first possession, marching 65 yards on eight plays. Quarterback James Ridinger found the end zone on an 8-yard keeper through the heart of the Panthers’ 3-4 defense.
On the ensuing series, Strath Haven (2-1, 1-1) reached Marple Newtown’s 8-yard line. But the Tigers kept Kevin Clancy’s squad off the scoreboard, with Desiderio stopping Crawford for a 1-yard loss on fourth and goal from the 12.
In the second quarter, Anthony Nicolardi booted a 34-yard field goal to make it 10-0.
Moat’s third-quarter score, a 1-yard dive, extended the lead to 17-0. For the season, he has carried 52 times for 591 yards and nine touchdowns. Last year, as a halfback, he gained nearly 600 yards.
Griffin’s 5-yard TD burst in the third quarter made it 17-7. Griffin (13 carries for 79 yards) and Crawford (19 for 89) combined for 168 of the team’s 202 rushing yards.
Late in the fourth quarter, Moat sealed matters with a 25-yard TD burst. The Tigers finished with 242 yards rushing. Ridinger hit on 3 of 5 passes for 65 yards.
Strath Haven 0 0 7 0 – 7
Marple Newtown 7 3 7 7 – 24
MN: J. Ridinger 8 run (Nicolardi kick)
MN: FG Nicolardi 34
MN: Moat 1 run (Nicolardi kick)
SH: Griffin 5 run (Higgins kick)
MN: Moat 25 run (Nicolardi kick)