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Marple Newtown hoping rematch is a repeat

By 11 November, 2011August 18th, 2012No Comments

By Delaware County Daily Times
November 11, 2011

Marple Newtown coach Ray Gionta doesn’t believe that his team has a decided edge on Strath Haven just because of what transpired during the regular season.

The Tigers handed the Panthers one of their worst defeats of the year in Week 3. It was hard to imagine then that No. 4 Marple Newtown and fifth-seeded Strath Haven would meet again on a bigger stage — the District One Class AAA playoffs.

“It’s hard to beat a team twice. There’s no question about that,” Gionta said. “I think if you look at our league, there are probably about five teams that are equal. In (Class) AAA … you can flip a coin because the teams are so evenly matched. Maybe you can say the team that didn’t win might have more of the psychological edge — I don’t know.  It’s going to come down to whoever plays best.”

Strath Haven travels to Harry R. Harvey Field tonight having posted a 4-1 record over the last five weeks. Marple is coming off a stinging loss to Springfield, 17-12.

But none of that matters. The Tigers are in the playoffs for the third time in program history. The Panthers have won 18 of 30 meetings with the Tigers.

“All the pre-game stuff about how many they’ve won in a row, that they beat Springfield and we lost to Springfield — all of that really doesn’t matter,” Gionta said. “It’s going to come down to who executes their offense and plays well on defense and the kicking game is vitally important.

“We respect the heck out of them and we know they’re a good football team. We don’t have to keep the kids on an even keel because they’re on that keel already. You don’t have to remind them that Strath Haven is a good team because they firmly believe that.”

This could easily be a low-scoring affair. The Tigers are first in Delco in points allowed (9.1), while the Panthers rank fifth (13.1).