By Terry Toohey, Delaware County Daily Times
September 21, 2011
“When I started coaching, Vince Dooley and Joe Paterno were winning because of defense,” Gionta said.
Gionta has stayed true to that philosophy and has preached the concept throughout his long coaching career, which is why he could not pick out one player to highlight following Marple Newtown’s impressive 24-7 upset of No. 1 Strath Haven last Friday night.
So Gionta gave the credit for the win to defensive coordinator Lou D’Alonzo, assistant coach Mike Doyle and the entire defensive unit. The Tigers — linemen Anthony Desiderio, Chris Kurkian, Corey Power and Kenny Smith, linebackers Ryan Furst, Joe Vegso, Parker Maas and Ryan Schollenbergerand defensive backs Joe Pham, Cimirrow Moat and Nick Ciarrochi —have allowed seven points in three games. Strath Haven was the first team to score on Marple.
“We’re playing a lot of kids,” Gionta said. “We played 18 kids on defense last year. I can’t tell you how many we’ve played this year, but we’ve used a number of kids.”
It also helps to have multi-sport athletes. Moat and Pham are outstanding track performers. Furst and Power also play basketball. Schollenberger is a member of the baseball team.
“We’re a small school,” Gionta said. “We have to share athletes and I think it helps from a competitive standpoint. Schollenberger has been at the plate in the playoffs. He knows what it takes to win.”