By Steven Lienert, Main Line Media News
October 08, 2011
Harriton learned that the hard way Thursday night.
Joey Pham, playing in just his second game since switching from wide receiver to running back, ran for 175 yards, including a 70-yard touchdown run on the Tigers’ first offensive play, to pace Marple Newtown to a 49-7 Central League win over the Rams.
“The Central League is focused on Cimirrow and what he’s been doing,” Pham said. “No one really knows about me. The lineman did a great job.”
A big block from one of those linemen, Chris Kurkian, sprung Pham on the first play and after Marple Newtown’s defense forced and recovered a Harriton fumble, it took just two plays for Moat to unleash his talents.
He scored on a 38-yard run and, before the game was five minutes old, the Tigers held a 14-0 lead. Moat, who only had 81 yards rushing in the first half, finished the contest with 16 carries for 192 yards and three touchdowns.
However, Pham had 118 yards rushing in the first quarter and running backAnthony Rosanio added two first-half touchdown runs to put the game out of reach for Marple Newtown (5-1, 4-1).
For Tigers’ head coach Ray Gionta, he was more impressed that his defense held an explosive offense like Harriton in check for most of the game.
Harriton’s only score came in the third quarter after the Rams (3-3, 2-3) recovered a Tigers’ fumble deep in Marple Newtown territory. Running back Alex Shippen scampered in from 7 yards out to keep Harriton from getting shut out.
“The story of the game is the defense,” Gionta said. “This team right here, we were scared to death of them. They have good skill players and they’ve put a lot of points on the board against everyone they’ve played and we held them to seven points. “
Harriton quarterback Pat Moriarty was just 11-for-23 for 78 yards. His longest completion of the night was a 24-yard hookup with receiver Juwan Valentine, who finished with just five catches for 39 yards.
“They have a lot of speed with Valentine, but we have some fast corners,” Pham said. “We have pretty good skill players, they have pretty good skill players, but our skill players, I guess, had a better night.”
Harriton head coach Matt Barr saw the game won in the trenches.
“They beat us up up front,” Barr said. “We just didn’t make plays. Nobody made plays. We haven’t been tackling all year. It’s symptomatic. We’re working hard, trying to get better, but I’ve said this from game one, we’re not a tough football team.”
If there was a downside to the game for Marple Newtown, it was that the Tigers had their streak of 12 consecutive possessions ending in a touchdown snapped at 12.
“I didn’t realize that,” Gionta said. “We’re just out there trying to execute the offense and the kids do a nice job with their assignments and they practice hard and they’re getting better with their techniques. We’re doing a pretty good job executing.”
For Gionta, getting Pham involved as a secondary weapon may just be the tip of the iceberg.
“Not just Pham but also Rosanio, our other halfback, too,” Gionta said. “I also think we have some capability to throw the ball that we haven’t shown yet. As I said earlier in the year, we’re trying to develop other facets of the offense.”
Judging by the performance against Harriton, things are coming along nicely for the Tigers.