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Marple Newtown football looks to return to the postseason

By 26 August, 2012No Comments

Published: Friday, August 24, 2012

By Dan McCarty

CORRESPONDENT, Delaware County News Network

The 2012 football season is just about ready to begin. With that, the Marple Newtown Tigers are gearing up for what will hopefully be another successful year.

Ray Gionta returns as head coach at Marple Newtown. Assisting him are Lou D’Alonzo, Bill Fulton, Tom Davidson, Mark Possenti, Gary Molineux, Ted Carotenuto, Steve Giordano and Mike Warrick.The Tigers ended their 2011 season with a record of 7-4 overall and 6-3 in the Central Athletic League. They have had some great seasons recently, qualifying for the District One Class AAA playoffs in 2006, 2009 and 2011. Last year, they were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs as they dropped a 31-7 decision to Strath Haven, a Central League rival.

However, in order to get back on the road to the postseason, there are some shoes that need to be filled. Gone from last year but taking their football careers to the collegiate level are running back/ defensive back Cimirrow Moat (Wesley College) and running back/defensive back Joey Pham (Millersville). Marple Newtown has also lost defensive tackle/offensive guard Chris Kurkian to graduation.

Four main starters will be leading the way for the Tigers. Senior outside linebacker Joe Vegso (6’2-190) made 52 tackles, one interception, one fumble recovery and eight pass breakups. He made second team All-Central and is battling for this year’s quarterback position along with junior quarterback/defensive back Tom Davis (6’1-165). Senior offensive tackle/defensive end Corey Power (6’3-235) is a returning two-way starter who made 37 tackles and a sack. Senior linebacker Parker Maas (5’10-190) had 53 tackles and a sack and will also play running back. Senior running back Anthony Rosiano (5’8-160) went 204 yards with 42 carries and an average of 4.9. He will also play cornerback.

Other returning lettermen include senior tight end/defensive end Craig Hamilton (6’5-230), offensive tackle/defensive lineman Ed Graham (6’2-210) and junior running back/defensive back Mike White (5’9-185).

In addition to the returnees, quite a few newcomers are also looking to make an impact. They include junior defensive tackle Zack Falcone (6’4-235), junior running back/defensive back Ross Binder (5’9-165), junior center/linebacker Markos Katrakazis (5’11-185), senior running back/defensive back Austin DiFabio (5’9-165), senior offensive guard/linebacker Andrew McHale (6’0-205), senior offensive guard/defensive end Kevin Rafferty (6’1-215), senior offensive guard Tom Panczner (6’1-190), junior offensive tackle/defensive tackle Ian Whiteside (6’2-230) and junior tight end/linebacker A.J. Cunningham (6’0-180).

“There is potential for good leadership from our senior group which is a prerequisite for a team that will be coachable, hard-working and improve as the season progresses,” said Gionta. “We have a solid offensive line and skilled players. Defense has experience at the linebacker position and will be athletic and quick.”

At this point, one of the biggest challenges the Tigers face is inexperience on both sides of the ball.

“Defense must be molded as many players will be playing new positions,” said Gionta. “We’re a smaller school. It’s a challenge.”

Marple Newtown has been practicing since Monday August 13, and will be ready to play its first game Friday, September 7, when it hosts the Lower Merion Aces.

“We’ll be competitive and develop as the season goes on,” said Gionta. “We’ll just take it one game at a time.”