By Steve Leinert, Delaware County Daily Times
October 29, 2011
Ridinger only completed two of his six pass attempts, but both went for long touchdowns as the Tigers overcame various injuries to defeat Radnor, 27-13, in a Central League contest.
“We like to throw it, (but) we like to complete them,” Marple Newtown head coach Ray Gionta said. “He does a nice job managing the game for us. When we call on him to come through and complete passes, he does the job.”
With the Tigers’ top two tailbacks, Cimirrow Moat and Joey Pham, hobbled at different times throughout the game, Gionta relied on a makeshift backfield and Ridinger’s arm to keep the Raiders at bay.
The Tigers found themselves in an early hole after a botched snap was recovered by Radnor on the Tigers’ eight-yard line. On fourth- and-goal from the one, Radnor running back T.J. Hines was met at the goal line by three Marple Newtown defenders.
As he strained for the touchdown, he fumbled the ball forward into the end zone where it was recovered by Radnor wideout Joe Yang to give the Raiders a 7-0 lead. Falling behind early, however, was no big deal for Ridinger.
“When things happened, we just forgot about it,” Ridinger said. “Just shrugged it off, moved on to the next play and we were able to go from there.”
He proceeded to lead the Tigers on a 70-yard scoring drive, capped by a 2-yard sneak by Ridinger, to pull Marple Newtown even. Then, just before halftime, Ridinger connected with Pham on a 29-yard touchdown to push the Tigers’ lead to 14-7 and Marple Newtown (7-2) never looked back.
“The (Radnor) defense was really going after the run so we saw an opening throwing the ball,” Ridinger said. “That first fade to the end zone really gave me confidence and it just kept rolling from there. ”
Meanwhile, Moat, who sat out most of the first and fourth quarters, was kept mostly in check. At halftime he had just 10 carries for 45 yards, but that changed on the Tigers’ second play from scrimmage in the second half after he busted a 55-yard touchdown run that gave Marple Newtown a 21-7 lead. Moat finished the contest with 16 carries for 114 yards.
On the Tigers’ ensuing possession, Ridinger’s ability to throw the long ball emerged again. He found receiver Nick Ciarrocchi in single coverage and he put the pass just beyond the outstretched arms of a Radnor defender for a 51-yard touchdown strike to give the Tigers a 27-7 advantage.
“The long ball is something he does well,” Gionta said. “He did a great job tonight on both of those passes. The second one we were trying to get somebody intermediate but the deep guy came open and he hit him. I think down the road he’s going to continue to do the job for us.”
Radnor (0-9) didn’t go away quietly. Raiders’ quarterback Mike Koerick connected with receiver Tim Wilson on a 22-yard touchdown pass early in the fourth quarter to pull Radnor within 27-13. The Raiders then seemed to recover an onsides kick, but the officials overturned the call, much to the dismay of head coach Tim Ryan.
“They said it hit one of our guy’s foot before it went 10 yards, which it clearly didn’t,” Ryan said. “I’m not sour grapes here. We saw it from our sideline and it got overturned. We were just a little too late in this game. Marple played a great game and we were just a little bit short tonight.”