By Joe Santoliquito, Marple Newtown Patch
September 21, 2011
NEWTOWN SQUARE–Maybe Marple Newtown beat Strath Haven a month before the game ever took place. The scoreboard last Friday read–Tigers: 24, Strath Haven: 7.
Beating the defending District 1 Class AAA champion said something about the Marple Newtown program—that the Tigers have to be viewed seriously in the Central League race, at 3-0 overall and 2-0 in the league.
It also said that this team is having fun again.
“We’re a whole new team this year, with a whole new attitude and the whole league didn’t know that until Friday night,” said Tigers’ two-way starter Joey Pham, who accounted for 100 yards of total offense and had five tackles.
“We weren’t a team last year,” continued Pham. “We had our issues and the issues were discipline issues. The seniors wanted to change the way we played, our attitude and practice every day. We wanted to go back to having fun, and last year wasn’t fun. We were a competitive team, but the mood was bad and we had two weeks where we had 19 guys practicing, between injuries and academics. This year, we practice junior varsity and varsity separate sometimes.”
Pham believes the Tigers are getting back to the basics this season, starting with the heart.
“We know everyone didn’t think we could beat Strath Haven. The attitude was to play with heart, and this was a real test against a very good team,” shared Pham. “We know how we are and one of their players told us after the game that we’re going to see each other again in the district playoffs. I think they underestimated us. They thought we were the same team we were last year.”
Now comes another test for Marple Newtown—visiting defending league champion Ridley will meet the Tigers this Friday at 7 p.m.
It’s all about the shock factor and backing up what they’ve been learning as a new team this season with the next several games.
“Now we have back up everything up; we realize we have to step things up because everyone is coming for us now,” Pham said. “We still have to prove something. I love shocking people. Our whole team does.”